Sunday, December 21, 2014

Counterfeit bills are not written in your own name

Washburn student intern Ashley Green and I won in State v. Greathouse, No. 110,344 (Kan. App. Nov. 26, 2014)(unpublished), reversing an Atchison County making a false writing conviction.  The state alleged that Mr. Greathouse attempted to use some counterfeit bills to pay bail for another person.  The case turns on the difference between forgery and making a false writing:
Our Supreme Court has summarized the elements of forgery as requiring that “(1) [the defendant] made a writing, (2) so it appeared to have been made by another, and (3) with the intent to defraud.” As such, the two crimes have been construed in such a way that forgery requires a writing in the name of another while making false information is a writing in one's own name or concerning oneself. This distinction has been the source of some confusion over the years.
The COA agreed that counterfeit bills are not made in one's own name:
Here, the facts alleged by the State put this case in the same category as the facts alleged in Rios and Gotti. Greathouse was accused of making or distributing counterfeit bills to bail someone out of jail. Like in Rios and Gotti, the counterfeit instruments did not contain information related to the defendant's own business or concerns, nor were they made in the writer's own name. The instruments were simply counterfeit legal tender. These facts would support a conviction for forgery. Because forgery and making false information are mutually exclusive crimes, the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support a conviction of making false information.
[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on January 30, 2014.]

No comments: