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Accused campaign sign thief: I was “simply acting as a good citizen to keep our highways clean” (#NY23)

Accused campaign sign thief: I was “simply acting as a good citizen to keep our highways clean” (#NY23)

Liberal activist caught by GPS tracking device removing Republican Rep. Tom Reed campaign sign says he had no intent to steal the sign or the hidden tracking device.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GvPqheBu6Y

In early July 2018, we covered an incident where a liberal activist opponent of Republican Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) was caught taking a campaign lawn sign. The sign had a GPS tracking device hidden in it, which enabled the Reed campaign to track it back to Gary McCaslin’s home.

The Reed campaign put the tracking device in the sign because of problems with people removing Reed’s signs. The sign in question was an “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” sign, part of a campaign theme Reed has used to great success for multiple election cycles against his liberal challengers. We discussed the incident and the history of the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” campaign in our post, “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” yard signs disappear, perp caught by embedded tracking device (#NY23).

The incident received widespread local and national coverage because of the use of the GPS tracking device.

While most of the news coverage focused on the alleged theft of the sign, the criminal charge of petit larceny related only to the GPS tracking device.

When Reed’s campaign manager Nick Weinstein requested McCaslin return the tracking device, McCaslin refused and said he was keeping it. McCaslin dared Weinstein to call the police. It was all caught on video:

“You found the sign. I’m keeping the tracker. You call the police then. I’ll be right here.

Weinstein did call the police, who arrested McCaslin and charged him with petit larceny relating only to the alleged theft of the GPS tracking device:

That on July 2nd, 2018 at about 06:41 p.m., the above named defendant did commit the offense of Petit Lerceny at State Route 352 in the town of Corning, County of Steuben, State of New York, TO WIT, Gary A. McCasUn did steal property consisting of one gps tracker that was placed inside a campaign sign. This is all contrary to the provisions of the statute in such case made and provided

[Yellow highlighting added]

The supporting Deposition by Weinstein focuses on the refusal to return the GPS device:

… On 07105/’2018 at about 02:00 p.m., I was checking my gps tracker that I had placed in a campaign sign for Congressman Reed and noticed it had moved from the location it was placed. I had placed multiple campaign signs in the area of State Route 362 in the Town of Coming near the Intersection of Main Street and Gibson. No one had permission to move the signs other than my staff and when I checked the location of the gps, I did not recognize the address where the gps tracker was. I then drove to said location which was at 8 Grannan Drive in the City of Corning and rang the door bell of this address. I then observed a male answer the door and recognized him to be Gary McCaslin. I asked him if he had taken the campaign signs and he admitted he had them. I asked him to retum the signs and after going back into his house, he turned over one campaign sign to me. As I walked away from the house, I realized the gps tracker that I had placed in the campaign sign was no longer there. I rang the door bell a second time, and after initially denying any knowledge of the tracker, he admitted to possessing it but refused to return it. He then suggested that I call the police.

McCaslin just pleaded Not Guilty to the charge in court and his lawyer filed a Motion to Dismiss (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post).

The key defense is that McCaslin, after initially refusing to return the GPS device, tried to return it but the police arrested him before he could do so:

10. At set forth in greater detail below, shortly after Mr. Weinstein left Rev. McCaslin’s home, Rev. McCaslin attempted to return the device to Congressman Reed as he did not want bring about unnecessary problems, but was unsuccessful because Congressman Reed’s campaign office was closed and a staffperson at Congressman Reed’s constituent office told Rev. McCaslin that the constituent office could not become involved with campaign matters.

11. Rev. McCaslin intended to turn the device over to proper authorities, but was arrested at his home before he had the opportunity to do so.

The motion further alleges no intent to steal the sign, but rather, an attempt to clean up campaign sign clutter on the roadside:

27. As with his decision to retrieve the lone Max Della Pia sign, Rev. McCaslin did not intend to steal property belonging to the Democratic candidates, Congressman Reed, or whoever placed the sign reminding people to vote. Instead, his intention was to clear the area along the highway of abandoned political clutter nearly a week after the Democratic primary had taken place.

McCaslin further argues that because the sign was on state property without a permit, it was effectively abandoned property and he could have not be charged with stealing abandoned property:

36. Accordingly, the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” sign, knowingly and illegally placed on state land without a permit by Congressman Reed or his campaign, can be considered nothing other than intentionally abandoned property.

37. Moreover, after the sign was intentionally placed on state land without a permit, it was rendered ownerless, as NYDOT had the legal authority to remove and dispose of it at any time without violating Congressman Reed’s property rights.

This argument about the location and placement of the sign seems irrelevant because McCaslin is not charged with stealing the sign. As to the GPS device, McCaslin argues:

40. In the accusatory instrument, Rev. McCaslin is charged with “stealing one gps tracker that was placed inside a campaign sign” on July 2, 2018. The accusatory instrument is both legally and factually insufficient because there is no basis set forth therein whatsoever that Rev. McCaslin was aware of the GPS tracking device’s existence when he retrieved the abandoned, illegally placed “campaign sign”.

41. In fact, it was not until later, when Rev. McCaslin attempted to separate the signs from their wire stands in order to dispose of them that he felt a bulge in the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” sign, and, upon inspection, discovered a peculiar item, shown below and also attached as Exhibit “G”.

42. At that time Rev. Mccaslin was not sure what, if any, action should be taken, as he questioned the legality of placing a device such as the one above inside of a sign, and what responsibility he had to investigate and/or return it to either Congressman Reed or some type of authorities.

43 . Within approximately one hour of Mr. Weinstein’s vis it to Rev. McCaslin’s home on July 5, 2018, Rev. McCaslin and a friend went to both Congressman Reed’s campaign headquarters and his constituent office in order to return the device, as he did not want to cause unnecessary legal problems.

44. However, Congressman Reed’s campaign office was locked and appeared to be closed, and a staff person at his constituent office told Rev. McCaslin that the constituent office was not permitted to become involved in campaign-related matters.

45. Al that point Rev. McCaslin revised his plan, and intended to turn the device over to the Steuben County Board of Elections in Bath, New York.

46. He never had that chance. At about 8:30 pm, while at home with Annie in their home located in a residential section of the City of Corning, Rev. McCaslin answered a knock at the door, and discovered two Corning City Police Officers along with a Steuben County Sheriff’s Deputy on his porch. Even though Mr. McCaslin immediately surrendered the GPS tracking device, he was placed under arrest, handcuffed, and taken to the Steuben County jail where he was processed and released.

The motion then presents the legal basis for dismissal.

First, it argues there was no intent to deprive the Reed campaign of the GPS device at the time the sign was taken, because McCaslin didn’t know the GPS device was in the sign initially. As to the refusal to return the sign, McCaslin argues that was a merely temporary deprivation of property and cannot constitute petit larceny:

52. This Court should also reject any attempt by the prosecution to amend the accusatory instrument in order to charge Rev. McCaslin with committing a crime on July 5, 2018, when he initially refused surrender the GPS device to Mr. Weinstein instead of on June 2, 2018. A person does not commit larceny when he temporarily deprives an owner of his property. Indeed, “[t]he mens rea element of larceny is simply not satisfied by an intent to temporarily take property without the owner’s permission.” (People v Drouin, 143 A.D.3d 1056, 1057 [3d Dept 20161).

53. There is no factual basis to allege Rev. Mccaslin intended to permanently deprive Congressman Reed of his GPS tracking device when he refused to surrender it to Mr. Weinstein on July 5, 2018. To the contrary, he went to Congressman Reed’s campaign and constituent offices to return the device hours before his arrest – something Congressman Reed knew or should have known before Rev. McCaslin was arrested.

Factually, that’s hard to square with the video where McCaslin refused to return the GPS device and said the Reed campaign will need to call the police. There certainly seem to be enough facts (“I’m keeping the tracker”), at the motion stage, to support probable cause of an intent to permanently deprive the Reed campaign of the tracking device, so this would be an issue for trial.

The fact that McCaslin changed his mind, after caught by the Reed campaign and after initially refusing to return the GPS device, should not be a legal defense. A New York Court of Appeals (the highest state court) sustained the conviction of a shoplifter for petit larceny even though the shoplifter never left the store. People v. Gasparik, 1980, 102 Misc.2d 487, 425 N.Y.S.2d 936, affirmed 52 N.Y.2d 309, 438 N.Y.S.2d 242, 420 N.E.2d 40, reargument denied 53 N.Y.2d 797, 439 N.Y.S.2d 1030, 422 N.E.2d 596. Addressing the three cases before it, the Court wrote:

Under these principles, there was ample evidence in each case to raise a factual question as to the defendants’ guilt.7  In People v. Olivo, defendant not only concealed goods in his clothing, but he did so in a particularly suspicious manner. And, when defendant was stopped, he was moving towards the door, just three feet short of existing the store. It cannot be said as a matter of law that these circumstances failed to establish a taking.8

In People v. Gasparik, defendant removed the price tag and sensor device from a jacket, abandoned his own garment, put the jacket on and ultimately headed for the main floor of the store. Removal of the price tag and sensor device, and careful concealment of those items, is highly unusual and suspicious conduct for a shopper. Coupled with defendant’s abandonment of his own coat and his attempt to leave the floor, those factors were sufficient to make out a prima facie case of a taking.

In People v. Spatzier, defendant concealed a book in an attaché case. Unaware that he was being observed in an overhead mirror, defendant looked furtively up and down and aisle before secreting the book. In these circumstances, given the manner in which defendant concealed the book and his suspicious behavior, the evidence was not insufficient as a matter of law.

Here, at least at the initial stage, McCaslin should not be able to obtain dismissal just because, after being caught, he decided to return the property, any more so than the shoplifter who returns the property when caught inside the store entrance can claim he never intended to permanently deprive the store of the property. That should be an issue for the jury.

McCaslin’s lawyer alludes by to a possible attempt to amend the charge. It’s unclear to what she’s referring, but it might be that one possible reading of the charge is that  the theft of the GPS tracker took place at the time the sign was taken, as opposed to the time of the refusal to return the GPS tracker. The charge doesn’t say that explicitly. McCaslin, claiming he didn’t know there was a tracker at the time he took the sign, could argue that there are no facts showing probable cause at that moment. It might be prudent for the prosecution to clarify this timing issue in an amended charge, if it wants to pursue the case, to remove any alleged lack of clarity.

Finally, McCaslin asks the court to use its inherent power to dismiss criminal charges in the interest of justice (emphasis added):

57. Here, there is no showing that Rev. McCaslin intended to commit a criminal offense at any point. He, like many residents of Steuben County, does not like seeing political clutter laying around on public property after an election. Rev. McCaslin was simply acting as a good citizen to keep our highways clean. Any attempt to further inconvenience him through this prosecution would result in a gross miscarriage of justice, further damage to Rev. McCaslin’s reputation and a significant waste of time and money for the Court system and prosecutors.

The motion also seeks disqualification of the District Attorney and appointment of a special counsel, since the prosecutor once worked for Reed and has contributed to Reed’s campaign.

The Elmira Star Gazette reports on the court proceeding, Attorney asks for dismissal of charge in Reed campaign sign case:

McCaslin appeared in Town of Corning Court on Monday, along with Elmira attorney Christina Sonsire, who is representing McCaslin with Ithaca lawyer Ray Schlather.

Sonsire filed a motion with the court asking that the charge be dropped, or that if it is allowed to stand, to appoint a special prosecutor.

“This entire situation strikes at the heart of our democratic system of government,” Sonsire said. “Gary McCaslin has been an outspoken, yet respectful, critic of Congressman Reed for years. However, that does not mean the government can grossly overreach in this manner where no crime has been committed.”

According to paperwork filed with the court by Sonsire, McCaslin was driving on Route 352 just east of Corning six days after the June 26 Democratic congressional primary when he noticed numerous campaign signs had been abandoned on state property.

On closer inspection, McCaslin noticed these signs included two in support of candidate Max Della Pia, one in support of candidate Linda Andrei, one reminding people to vote, and a fifth that said ‘Extreme Ithaca Liberal.”

Most of the signs were lying on the ground in a pile. McCaslin retrieved all of the signs in an effort to remove political clutter from the side of the road as the election had been held almost a week prior, Sonsire said.

McCaslin later discovered the GPS tracking device in the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” sign after Weinstein tracked the device to his house and asked for it to be returned.

McCaslin refused to return the device, according to Weinstein, but later decided to turn it in to Reed’s campaign headquarters.

When he found the campaign office to be closed, McCaslin said he planned to turn the GPS device over to the Steuben County Board of Elections, but that several police officers showed up at his house and took him into custody before he had a chance to follow through…

WETM reports:

Nick Weinstein, Campaign Manager for Tom Reid for Congress, said they had dozens of campaign signs stolen from a spot in Corning. Weinstein decided to put GPS trackers on the signs to find out who was stealing them. Weinstein said the GPS tracked one of the stolen signs to McCaslin’s home. According to Weinstein, McCaslin returned the sign but not the GPS tracker. McCaslin was charged in early July for petit larceny.

“That’s not someone who is picking up garbage on the side of the road,” Weinstein sad. “That’s someone who had an agenda.”

Weinstein also was quoted in the Elmira Star Gazette:

“It is important for people to realize that we simply wanted our signs and tracker returned,” Weinstein said in a statement. “After dozens of our signs were taken, I placed a single GPS tracker inside a sign and caught three people stealing them. The first two, when confronted, simply returned the signs without any drama, allowing us to put them back up. Gary McCaslin did not and instead refused to return the GPS tracker and told us to call the police.”

Weinstein added if McCaslin admits to taking the GPS tracker and publicly calls for people affiliated with his protest group to stop taking campaign signs, he would support a dismissal of the charge.

The case is now in the hands of the court system, he said.

McCaslin’s attorney Christina Sonsire spoke about the case outside the courthouse:

I emailed McCaslin’s attorney with questions regarding the defense:

… it seems that your main argument goes to the location of the signs and the lack of intent to steal the signs given location and placement. If I understand the case, though, Mr. McCaslin is not charged with stealing the sign. Rather, the sole criminal charge relates to the GPS tracking device. How does the discussion of the location and appearance of the signs relate to the GPS device once Mr. McCaslin knew he had the GPS device and is on tape refusing to hand it back to Reed’s campaign manager. What difference does it make at that point whether Mr. McCaslin intended originally to steal the sign?

McCaslin’s attorney declined to comment other than to state:

I believe the motion papers we filed lay out our position succinctly. Unfortunately I have client coming in right now on another matter and I will be tied up for the rest of the afternoon.

This may not be the case of the century, but it’s likely in the future that “Extreme Ithaca Liberals” who oppose Tom Reed will be more reluctant to remove Reed’s campaign signs, including the Extreme Ithaca Liberal signs.

———————

Gary McCaslin Motion to Dismiss Tom Reed (R-NY23) Campaign Sign Theft Charge by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

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Comments

And the crowd chants “double down, double down, double down.”

Any politician who puts a sign at an intersection that blocks my view of oncoming traffic can plan on picking when I throw it as far as I can. Same with Robocalls… call me and you lost a vote no matter who you are.

Grouch off.

Let me guess, the thief identifies as a political Ass…

Synchronicity.
I came across this yesterday.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXlBoZJfV3Y

A 35 page motion to dismiss in a simple case of theft of one GPS tracking device. Remember my theory that the more pages necessary in order to justify a particular legal position, usually the weaker that position is? Well, here you go.

This case hniges on only one thing, the defendent’s refusal to return the GPS tracking device which he had removed from the sign, when request by the owner of that device. This hsows clear intent to deprive the owner of his property. And, as the court have held in every state in the union. an offer to return property denied to its owner, to avoid prosecution for theft, does not void the illegality of the initial action to deprive.

he’s toast, if the courts follow existing law.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Mac45. | July 25, 2018 at 1:30 am

    The problem is that this is the State of New York, where in political matters the courts feel that they are under absolutely no obligation to acknowledge the existence of law, let along follow it.

    pfg in reply to Mac45. | July 25, 2018 at 9:32 am

    The length of the motion papers, all the research done trying to justify what is clearly theft, plus two lawyers on the case for the defendant, with court appearances to boot. Wow! The left feels besieged.

I can only say I am glad I was never a member of his church, I would be so ashamed to have called him pastor.

Taking down campaign signs.

Sounds like somebody’s trying to “hack” an election.

I hear that’s a big thing now.

The process is the punishment. The thief has now spent way more than he will be fined for pleading not guilty. I’d like to know if he had all those signs first off or just the ones for Reid. And if he’s a reverend, he needs to do some remedial prayer as his claim he was just cleaning things up is just too implausible to be believed thus he’s a liar. And a bad one at that.

Sufficient justice has been accomplished in my view.

As to moving signs in your way at a corner: just because someone’s placed a hindrance in observing traffic does not give anyone the right to move or remove their property. Call them or call the cops or the city traffic maintenance and let them do the legal correct thing.

    Anchovy in reply to jakee308. | July 24, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Bull. If some oblivious asshole puts up a sign that blocks the view of an intersection it is coming down. It might be a private sign but it is on a public right of way. Knock it down and then call the police. Of course people have a right to move a sign that causes a traffic safety hazard. Where do you get that crap that I don’t have the right to remove it? Friging hivemind.

      mailman in reply to Anchovy. | July 25, 2018 at 1:48 am

      Anchovy,

      You would have a point IF thats what the guy did. Its not. He removed the sign and then refused to return the GPS tracker (attached exactly because the signs were going missing in the first place).

      Everything you waffle on about is irrelevant. You might also have a second point if all the signs that were being stolen were of ALL the campaigners but they weren’t. They were all ONE campaigns signs that were being removed.

      But still…this isn’t about the signs, its about the theft of property and the refusal to return said stolen property.

        Tom Servo in reply to mailman. | July 25, 2018 at 9:22 am

        I agree, especially about the refusal – if it hadn’t been for that video, he might have been able to make a halfway decent case. But he ruined his entire argument when the man asked for the tracker back, and he refused, while also acknowledging that he did indeed have possession of it. That’s the moment of the actual charged crime, right there, and they’ve got it on tape.

      Hillary klinton: I wasn’t stealing, I was just holding the money for safekeeping.

      Lock them both up. Sessions with them.

ScottTheEngineer | July 24, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Off topic but definitely worth reading

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2018/07/24/12-17808.pdf

Anyone else see this?

Darwin Akbar | July 24, 2018 at 10:49 pm

You are hereby charged with being a horse’s ass. I hope you are proud of yourself.

I am no lawyer, but several of the “defenses” are specious on their face: that he only planned to “temporarily deprive an owner of his property” (52) while simultaneously dismantling and planning to dispose of said property as trash: 41. In fact, it was not until later, when Rev. McCaslin attempted to separate the signs from their wire stands in order to dispose of them that he felt a bulge in the “Extreme Ithaca Liberal” sign, and, upon inspection, discovered a peculiar item, shown below and also attached as Exhibit “G”.

Barrister Sonsire seems quite wet behind the legal ears with this pile of tripe. She would have been better off using the defense that he wanted the sign for a self identifier.

“I wasn’t robbing my fellow citizens of their political speech, I was keeping the highway clean”

And we are so very proud of you.

Now hold still while I get a better grip on these pliers. I’m not torturing you, I’m yanking out the ones with cavities. Can’t let that tooth decay spread, no siree. Ready?

Will he argue that the true owner is God? It is about all that is left here.

It’s true that he can’t have stolen the tracker when he (lawfully) removed the sign, since he didn’t know it existed. And it’s true that “borrowing” something without permission is not stealing. That’s why legislatures in every common law jurisdiction have had to pass specific statutes banning joyriding; without those statutes there would be nothing to prosecute. Therefore it’s true that if, when he found the tracker he intended to return it, and ifwhen he refused to return it when asked he still intended to return it later, then he can’t be convicted of stealing it then either. But this requires more than just his word. There must be evidence of such an intention; otherwise every thief could make the same claim. “Oh, I was going to return it tomorrow.”

    onlyabill in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 9:09 am

    “And it’s true that “borrowing” something without permission is not stealing.”

    What? What is the legal difference between “borrowing” and “taking”? If I give it back before you know it was gone?

    By your statements, if I “borrow” your car and/or your money without your permission and return them before you know they are gone (or simply state that I intended to return them?), I did not “steal”?

    Please square this circle for me. Thanks.

      Milhouse in reply to onlyabill. | July 25, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Yes, the common law definition of theft is taking someone’s property with the intention of permanently depriving him of its use. “Borrowing” without permission is not stealing. I already covered this in my original comment, pointing out that legislatures in every common-law jurisdiction in the world had to make special statutes banning joyriding, because under the common law it is not stealing.

      And no, you don’t have to put it back before I notice it’s gone; all that’s required is that you intended to give it back. The prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you intended to keep it. But juries are usually more than willing to make this inference; no normal juror is going to take a defendant’s unsupported word that he meant to give it back.

      MajorWood in reply to onlyabill. | July 26, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      >> By your statements, if I “borrow” your car and/or your money without your permission and return them before you know they are gone (or simply state that I intended to return them?), I did not “steal”? <<

      When did we start talking about social security?

    Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 10:45 am

    What constitutes theft ALWAYS depends upon the language of the statutes. As claims that a person did not intend to “permanently” deprive a person of the use of his property rose, most jurisdictions changed their theft laws to make it a criminal offense to either remove property from a person’s possession without authorization or to deprive them of the use of that property, even temporarily.

    In this case, while removing the GPS unit, and the sign to which it was attached, may not constitute theft, the refusal to return it to the owner clearly constitutes a violation of the larceny statute. At that point the Rev clearly was depriving or withholding property from the rightful owner.

      Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | July 25, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      The definition of theft always starts with the common law, which defines it as taking property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its use. Then you apply whatever statutes the local jurisdiction has made to modify that or to add to it. For instance, joyriding is a crime everywhere, but only because every legislature has made it a crime. Under the common law it wasn’t, and the first people caught doing it got off.

        paracelsus in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 3:32 pm

        Don’t hang me! Don’t hang me!
        I wuz only borrowin’ the horse fer a liddl’ whahl.
        I wuz agone return it later.

          Milhouse in reply to paracelsus. | July 25, 2018 at 7:25 pm

          Under the common law that is a valid defense, if the jury believes you.

          In the case of joyriders it obviously is the case that they intend to return the car, which is why until legislatures passed specific laws against it they used to get away with it.

        Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm

        But, you so helpfully noted, “theft” only BEGINS with the common law definition. In order to know what constitutes “theft” in any given jurisdiction, one has to read the statutory definition, or case law pertaining to such a definition. Most, if not all states [including NY Penal 155.05], have defined theft to include taking [without authorization], depriving [a person of the use of personal property] and the refusal to return property [which was taken without legal authorization].

        Also, virtually all state courts have ruled that a return of, or attempt to return, property, which has been taken from another illegally, in order to avoid prosecution, or likely prosecution, is not a defense to the original charge of theft.

    dystopia in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Once again Milhouse mangles. Larceny is a specific intent crime in New York State. The Reverends defense is “Oh I didn’t know I took it, sorry, I was taking other things I had a right to take.” The theft of the GPS is clear and more easily proven. It has nothing to do with “borrowing”.

      Milhouse in reply to dystopia. | July 25, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      On the contrary, I laid out the situation clearly, while you are mangling. His defense on stealing the GPS is that he only “borrowed” it, because he intended to give it back eventually. But although it’s true that if this were the case he’d have a defense, his unsupported word can’t be enough or else every thief would be able to say the same thing.

        Firewatch in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 3:03 pm

        I hope you try and borrow something from me.

          MajorWood in reply to Firewatch. | July 25, 2018 at 8:00 pm

          Yes officer, I simply loaned him some small pieces of lead which his relatives can return at their convenience.

        dystopia in reply to Milhouse. | July 26, 2018 at 6:39 am

        Borrowing the GPS? Hah. You can try that excuse while you are in handcuffs after “borrowing” some other piece of property. Taking something without permission is larceny in New York State.

        Larceny includes a wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of another`s property, with the intent prescribed in subdivision one of this section, committed in any of the following ways:
        (a) By conduct heretofore defined or known as common law larceny by trespassory taking, common law larceny by trick, embezzlement, or obtaining property by false pretenses;
        (b) By acquiring lost property.
        A person acquires lost property when he exercises control over
        property of another which he knows to have been lost or mislaid, or to have been delivered under a mistake as to the identity of the recipient or the nature or amount of the property, without taking reasonable measures to return such property to the owner;

After all that, the attorney claims the motion laid the case out “succinctly”…?

I’m not sure why this is a heroic saga warranting a AAA-level legal struggle, but this er, brave crusader seems determined to become a legend in his own mind.

    MajorWood in reply to JBourque. | July 25, 2018 at 11:45 am

    I suspect that “the good reverend” doesn’t want any record of this because it means that he “can’t” do it again without much more serious consequences. A guilty verdict here takes him out of the political ballgame, not that he was an effective player on a winning team in the first place. At the next liberal rally, one simply needs to surround him with placards saying “sign thief (arrow)” and he is toast, an embarrassment to anyone who associates with him. Activism is clearly this guy’s whole reason for existence and he is now aware that it can all go poof, if it hasn’t already. No more sign stealing for you! I bet his life peaked in the late 60’s at an antiwar rally, and like all addicts, he is still searching for that magic moment again. A guilty verdict here is the same as a forced-intervention rehab stint.

    If someone else has an explanation for why he just spent a couple of thousand dollars (am I low-balling here?) on a futile attempt to avoid a $50 fine, I’d love to hear it.

    This guy needs to watch more football, because then he’d realize there is a time and a place where punting is the best option. I’d say it is 4th and 35, on his own 2, and he has just taken an sideline audible from the waterboy.

ROTFLMFAO at all the self-righteous chest thumping “if a sign is blocking my view” nonsense.

take a look at the sign: it’s not even 2’x3′, and those signs are always put in just above ground level on wire stands.

spare me the histrionics.

    legacyrepublican in reply to redc1c4. | July 25, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Sure it would block his view. All he has to do is prove he acted like a typical liberal snake in the grass which he learly has. Or is that a snake on grass in which he should do time in the joint instead of on it.

What an unfortunate spate of bad luck for this “civic minded” refuse collector. I wonder if he possessed the proper license as a trash hauler?

    Milhouse in reply to dystopia. | July 25, 2018 at 8:44 am

    What license? No license is required to remove garbage from the street, or indeed to take any abandoned property from anywhere.

    dystopia in reply to dystopia. | July 25, 2018 at 11:49 am

    You really need to get yourself checked out neurologically. You don’t seem able to recognize sarcasm, satire or parody.

      Milhouse in reply to dystopia. | July 25, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      Your reference to a license was none of those things. You seem to be using those terms without understanding what they mean.

buckeyeminuteman | July 25, 2018 at 6:33 am

I’m sure he had no intention of stealing the hidden tracking device. The Republican sign on the other hand…

    Milhouse in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | July 25, 2018 at 8:43 am

    The sign was garbage abandoned on the highway, and he had every right to remove it, which is why he has not been charged with that.

      clintack in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Um, no.

      He wasn’t charged with that because he returned the sign promptly when asked, unlike the GPS tracker.

      A political sign is not “garbage abandoned on the highway” *before* the election, only after. The claim that he thought the signs were meant for the primary rather than the election is absurd.

        Milhouse in reply to clintack. | July 25, 2018 at 2:29 pm

        It is garbage abandoned on the highway the moment it’s placed there, where the owner has no right to place it. Anyone has the right to remove it.

The most troubling fact in this entire sorted affair?

“Rev. McCaslin.”

    Occasional Thinker in reply to Redneck Law. | July 25, 2018 at 9:53 am

    The Bible tells us to wary of men claiming to act in the name of the Lord, but sadly we allow many wolves to hide under that sheep skin. Think Father Pfleger, Rev Sharpton, Rev Cleaver, Rev Jackson, the evangelical multi millionaires and on & on.

    clintack in reply to Redneck Law. | July 25, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Perhaps he got the title online? Perhaps in order to preside over unrecognized same-sex marriages a few years back, when that was all the rage in upstate New York?

And this is a Reverend? What church does he preach to? The Church of What’s Happening?

Just started reading the motion to dismiss…

Ouch: “… legal and factual facial inefficiency of the accusatory instrument…”

Actually, the idea of dismissing motions and pleadings that are overly long on the grounds of inefficiency sounds appealing…

PersonofInterests | July 25, 2018 at 10:59 am

This only serves to highlight a truth about the left: They are intolerant to ANY Free Speech that opposes their views, whether in colleges, the Media, or others that are suppose to be places where our First Amendment is NOT suppose to be denied.

Exposing them, especially those holding posts like Rev. McCasin, is what needs to be done more frequently. I’m certain that 50% of the “Good” Reverend’s flock with consider his actions and react accordinly, e.g., put a wooden nickel in the collection plate or stop attending.

Texas politics, 1976. My father is campaign chair for State Senator. I’m just a kid in the car. Maybe we were in the the midst of a Sign War, maybe it was just another crazy aspect of Texas politics (order another round and I’ll tell you the one about the 40 life-size Rubber Ducks on the Senate floor).

Anyways, every where we went – soccer practice, restaurant, even church Sunday mornings – I got a quarter for spotting the other candidate’s campaign signs, he would pull over, yank them up, throw them in the trunk and replace them with the Senator’s re-election signs.

This went on for years. Ah Texas. Someone please rescue me from the People’s Republic of Maryland. We can’t hold out much longer. Send picante sauce stat!

“The sign was garbage abandoned on the highway, and he had every right to remove it,”

No, it was political speech during an election. And the article states signs were routinely being stolen from that intersection, and the he had several of them, not just the one.

And doesn’t “guilty conscience” come into play? If the signs were trash, why weren’t they found at the dump, or in his trash can. Do you hide trash inside your house?

“You FOUND the sign”

Isn’t that an admission he was hiding it?

“But I’m keeping the GPS tracker”

Why? I thought it was trash. He can’t use the tracker, he doesn’t have the receiver. The only reason to keep the tracker is to keep the original owner from attaching it to a new sign. Why would a “good citizen” want to do that?

    Milhouse in reply to Fen. | July 25, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    The sign was garbage abandoned on the highway, and he had every right to remove it,

    No, it was political speech during an election.

    There is no “election exception” allowing one to put signs on a highway just because there’s an election going on. If you put your property in the street you have abandoned it, and anyone has the right to remove it.

    And doesn’t “guilty conscience” come into play? If the signs were trash, why weren’t they found at the dump, or in his trash can.

    Abandoned property is free for the taking. That’s why detectives are allowed to go through your garbage and keep whatever interests them.

    “But I’m keeping the GPS tracker”

    Why? I thought it was trash.

    That’s why he’s been charged with stealing the tracker, which was clearly not abandoned, so once he found it he was required to give it back, and when the person came for it and he refused he put himself in the wrong. If he always intended to return it later it’s up to him to give the jury evidence of that intention.

      Geologist in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Milhouse, you are quick to claim that the theft of the sign and GPS device was not theft because there was no intent to permanently deprive. But you do not look into whether there was any intent to abandon the sign, or not.

      In each of my two campaigns, my campaign workers were asked to keep careful track of all signs we posted, in order to remove the signs after the elections. We then did remove all signs that we had posted, as required by local regulations. Didn’t my intent to remove the signs — to reclaim them — mean that they were not abandoned when my people posted them?

      I do not think that the signs (let alone the gps gizmo) were abandoned property, free to anyone to take. At least, not until after the elections (not the primary, but the general election as well) were over.

      MajorWood in reply to Milhouse. | July 25, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      >> Abandoned property is free for the taking. That’s why detectives are allowed to go through your garbage and keep whatever interests them. <<

      In Oregon, at least in Portland, the contents of the trash/compost/and recycling bins belongs to the property occupant until they cross the right-of-way, and then they become the property of the refuse company, who also owns the bins. Removal of contents is a $300 fine. The police are powerless to stop anyone from doing it though after they got complaints of racism from Asians who were retrieving returnables, which makes it possible for anyone to do it scott free.

      In a beautiful case of irony, this was established as precedent by none other than former mayor "I want to turn Portland into New Jersey" Vera Katz after she had the po po crack down on some journalists who were rifling through her recycling bin. She stated that they were stealing from her. Turns out, she and the po po were both wrong, as it was the refuse companies call as to whether a complaint could be made since it was now their property. The po po would need to ask the refuse company if they could go through the bins after that ruling. God I love it when a petty tyrant has it handed right back to them.

    Mac45 in reply to Fen. | July 25, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Actually, personal property which is placed in the right-of-way is not “abandoned” and no one has the right to remove it without authority. A car “abandoned” in the roadway can not be legally removed by a private citizen. It can be removed by a LEO, usually under statute or ordinance. The Rev. would have been well within his rights to call the police and have them take whatever action is authorized under existing law, with regard to placement of political signs. he had no right to remove those signs himself.

He knew it was there when they came to his home and refused to give back the tracker. Her argument falls apart at that point.

I think the take home message her is to become a lawyer who specializes in defending liberal causes. As long as they still believe that they are right, you can just bill bill bill.

Now, the big Q in my mind is “who is paying for all of this?” What are peeps estimates for the amount of time and work involved in this case? Follow the money is always much more interesting than the event which precipitated it, just like the coverup is more damaging than the crime and the comments are always better (and contain more truth) than the original news story.

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