In continuation with our blog on The People v. Neasham, Glenn Neasham (defendant and appellant) appealed his conviction for committing theft from an elder and dependent adult by selling her an annuity policy which the prosecutor argued to the jury "was an unsuitable product for her age" despite its approval for sale by the California Department of Insurance to persons through the age of 85 years.
The Court of Appeal reversed the conviction asserting that there was no evidence that Neasham appropriated Schuber's money for his own personal use or for anyone else's benefit other than Schuber herself. In addition, there was no evidence that Neasham made any misrepresentations or committed fraud in connection with the sale.
The Appeals Court further noted that the jurors were improperly instructed. The court's instructions stated that to convict, the jury only need to find that the purchase of the annuity deprived the elder of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of her property, thereby omitting the need to establish the element of intent. The Court reasoned that "the omission of an essential element of an offense from the court's instructions is an error of constitutional significance since the defendant is entitled to a jury's finding that all elements have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt." Accordingly, Neasham's conviction was reversed.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be construed as professional legal advice.