Application of Legal Math:

Step 1: Read the question stem to determine the subject that is being tested. This question stem is not helpful because it only says “Grace is” therefore, read the answer choices with a light touch. Each answer choice has language associated with criminal law. It is clear that this is a criminal law question.

Step 2: Read the paragraph carefully.

Step 3: In your own words, without looking at the paragraph, summarize what is happening. This will help you recognize who exactly the parties are and what they are doing.

Step 4: Ask yourself: Why could the Defendant be in trouble? Here, Grace may be in trouble because she told an 11-year-old to steal a television set from another person’s house.

Step 5: Ask yourself: What would the Defendant say in her defense? In answering this question, remember only to make true statements. If Grace has no defense, don’t make one up. In this question, the only truthful positive statement Grace could only say is that she did not physically take the television set.

Step 6: Does this defense disprove or cancel out a key element of larceny? In this case, Grace’s defense does not disprove or cancel out a key element of larceny because she had the specific intent to permanently deprive Sam of his television set and it was moved.

Step 7: Come up with your predicted answer by picking a side for a specific reason. Here, your predicted answer would be: Grace is guilty of larceny because she intended to trick the child into taking Sam television set and it was moved.

Step 8: First, go to the 2 answers that state Grace is guilty. Choose the answer that most closely translates to your predicted answer.

ANSWER: D (D) is correct. Grace is guilty of larceny by use of an innocent agent translates to guilty because she tricked the child into stealing the television set.

(C) is an incorrect statement of law because Grace is not guilty as an accessory. An accessory before the fact is a person who assisted or encouraged a principal to commit the crime. A principal is a person who intentionally and actually engaged in the crime. Here, Grace is guilty as a principal rather than an accessory because she intentionally and actually engaged in larceny by her own actions and Roy is not guilty of any crime because he lacked the specific intent to commit larceny. (A) and (B) are automatically wrong because they state Grace is not guilty.

Practice Question:

Grace, while baby-sitting one night, noticed that Sam, who lived next door, had left his house but that the door did not close completely behind him. Grace said to Roy, the 11-year-old boy she was baby-sitting with, “Let’s play a game. You go next door and see if you can find my portable television set, which I lent to Sam, and bring it over here.” Grace knew that Sam had a portable television set and Grace planned to keep the set for herself. Roy thought the set belonged to Grace, went next door, found the television set, and carried it out the door. At that moment, Sam returned home and discovered Roy in his front yard with the television set. Roy explained the “game” he and Grace were playing. Sam took back his television set and called the police.

Grace is:
(A) not guilty of larceny or attempted larceny, because Roy did not commit any crime.
(B) not guilty of larceny but guilty of attempted larceny, because she never acquired possession of the television set.
(C) guilty of larceny as an accessory to Roy.
(D) guilty of larceny by the use of an innocent agent.

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