Single Charge Against Rice Explained
Carla S. Rice, 52, Pettisville, admitted in an interview with a Fulton County Sheriff Department deputy she stole money from Pettisville concession stands on more than one occasion.
She was also a person of interest in other incidents where thefts allegedly occurred.
So why was she only charged with one count of theft, and only required to pay $34 in restitution?
Rice entered a guilty plea to a theft charge in Western District Court, Tuesday, March 27.
She served a three-day jail sentence, was ordered to pay a fine and court costs, perform community service, and make restitution to the school in the amount of $34.
The Fulton County Sheriff Department report on the incident, obtained by this newspaper, said a school employee observed Rice taking money from the concession stand cash box on Saturday, Feb. 18.
The report states, “Ms. Rice also admitted that she has taken money about every time she has worked the concession stand.
“She said she would take anywhere between $20 and $40 each time,” the FCSD report said.
No Other Evidence
Scott Haselman, Fulton County prosecuting attorney, said other than the one theft observed by the witness, Rice could not be charged with any of the thefts she admitted to.
The reason, he said, is there is no other evidence that the thefts occurred.
“Thefts of cash are diffi- cult to prove unless there is some accounting process or an eyewitness to the theft,” he said.
A person cannot be convicted of a crime solely based on a confession.
“That is a legal doctrine called, ‘corpus delicti’ (which is Latin for the ‘body of the crime.’)
“There must be some other admissible evidence, no matter how attenuated, that shows that the confessing suspect committed the crime before the confession would be admissible at a trial,” Haselman said.
Even if there were a way to show Rice stole $20 to $40 each time she worked the concession stand, the total amounts would not likely have been calculated because, Haselman said,
“(1) it would be almost impossible to compile an accurate total that could be proven ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ and
“(2) it would probably not make any difference in the charge, because, if we had an accurate compilation, all of the thefts would have been charged under one count, since all thefts, from one cent to $1,000, are misdemeanors of the first degree,” Haselman said.