Monday, May 4, 2009

Gossip Girl: The Case of the Gifted Bracelet

Gossip Girl: The Wrath of Con
(aired May 4, 2009)

Lily gives her daughter Serena an early graduation gift: an antique bracelet that has been in the family for generations. Serena is reluctant to accept the gift because of secrets she's been keeping from her mother, but she relents, accepts the gift, and puts on the bracelet.

When Lily finds out about Serena's secret, Lily tells Serena to stop her conduct. Serena, being a rebellious and highly strung teenager, disobeys her mother. After Lily discovers Serena's misbehavior, Lily reports to the police that Serena stole her bracelet. Serena is arrested and waiting for her mother to bail her out.

Law: A larceny is the taking of another person's property with the intent to permanently deprive the person of the property.

Issue: Did Serena steal the bracelet?

Analysis: Probably not. Larceny is a specific intent crime, meaning the perpetrator must have a specific kind of intent above the general intent to commit the crime. In the case of larceny, that means the perpetrator must have intent to take the property (general intent) but also have intent to permanently deprive the property holder of the property (specific intent).

Here, Serena lacked any intent to steal the bracelet because she only acquired possession of the bracelet as a gift from Lily. Even if Lily wanted to press charges against Serena, Serena's good faith belief that the bracelet was a gift is sufficient to negate the argument that Serena had the specific intent to permanently deprive Lily of the bracelet.

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