State v. AtwoodAnnotate this Case
Defendant entered into a contract with Complainant for the purpose of remodeling part of Complainant's house. Complainant later discovered Defendant was not a licensed contractor, contrary to Defendant's representations to Complainant. Before the remodeling was completed, Complainant fired Defendant due to a dispute regarding the purchasing of materials. After an investigation, Defendant was charged with theft in the first degree and unlicensed activity. Defendant moved to dismiss the theft charge, which the circuit court denied. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) affirmed, determining that there was sufficient evidence for the grand jury to indict Defendant for first-degree theft given his misrepresentation to Complainant that he was an unlicensed contractor, which thereby induced Complainant to enter into a contract and pay Defendant $95,930 before ultimately firing him. The Supreme Court vacated the judgments of the circuit court and the ICA, holding that the evidence in this case did not suffice to establish probable cause that Defendant committed theft of property exceeding $20,000 in value because the State did not provide the grand jury with any specific amount of property of which Complainant was allegedly unlawfully deprived. Remanded with instructions to dismiss the charge of theft in the first degree.