State v. TaylorAnnotate this Case
After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of theft in the second degree for allegedly offering to provide legal services and obtaining or exerting control over a retainer check by deception. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in sua sponte failing to instruct the jury on the mistake of fact defense as to her conviction. Defendant cited to State v. Stenger for the proposition that if she was laboring under a mistake of fact that could negate the state of mind necessary to commit theft, the trial court was required sua sponte to instruct the jury on the mistake of fact defense. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) agreed based on Stenger and vacated the conviction. The State appealed, requesting that the Supreme Court overrule Stenger. After clarifying Stenger's holding, the Court reversed the ICA and affirmed Defendant's conviction, holding that the trial court did not plainly err in omitting the mistake of fact jury instruction, as Defendant had not met her initial burden of adducing credible evidence of facts constituting the defense, and those facts were not supplied by the prosecution's witnesses.