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Stupid Case File for August 19, 2006

How To Catch a Thief . . . Postal Style

Thanks to Appellate Decisions for an intersting article.

U.S. v. Gonzales, 05-1313 (10th Cir., Aug. 7, 2006)

This case shows that the good folks over at the USPS are looking out for us. Because some mail carriers would prefer to pocket your mail rather than deliver it, postal inspectors conduct random stings to try to catch wayward employees.

Defendant Juanita Gonzales was a mail carrier who loved movies. So much so that she opened an undeliverable letter promising two free movie tickets in exchange for filling out a survey. When Gonzales submitted the survey, inspectors targeted her for further stings. She proceeded to pass up a free disposable camera and a "special gift" from a charity. Undeterred by her sudden bout of honesty, the inspectors tried the old movie ticket trick again, and Gonzales finally took the bait. Unfortunately for her, the tickets were accompanied by a beeper that set off an alarm when she opened the letter.

Gonzales was convicted of two counts of embezzling mail. On appeal, she took issue with the jury instructions, arguing that the government needed to show that she intended to keep the tickets. The Tenth Circuit disagrees, explaining that the crime is complete when the mail carrier removes the letter from the envelope. Thus, Gonzales’ conviction is affirmed, and she’ll serve three years of probation


Blogger Malinda777 said...

So that's what happened to my Publisher's Clearing House winning notification! Damn....:)

August 20, 2006 11:00 PM  
Blogger cowtownchick said...

She wanted them to prove that she intended to keep the tickets?... What was she gonna do?.. go back to the folks the letter was addressed to and say here's your mail, I'm sorry I opened it?.. oi... *insert eye roll here*

August 23, 2006 6:32 AM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

Believe me, it doesn't stop there. I teach in a prison. If I were to ask, "Show of hands. How many of you are innocent?" All the hands would go up. And she's not going to do any time!

August 26, 2006 2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

most people don't know that we potal workers are under constant watch and we never know when we are being watched because the postal inspectors have catwalks they can spy on us from and hear what we say and do so pretty much in the end anyone who steals mail will get caught and will pay the price. number two against the lady is that just by delaying the delivery of the mail either to the addressee or the sender she has comitted a federal offense

December 13, 2006 8:08 PM  

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