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People v. Farell

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Citation Edit

People v. Farell, 28 Cal.4th 381, 48 P.3d 1155, 121 Cal.Rptr.2d 603 (2002) (full-text).

California Supreme Court Proceedings Edit

The California Supreme Court ruled that the theft of trade secrets worth more than $50,000 can trigger a state statute that requires a minimum county jail sentence as a condition of probation. The Court was interpreting Cal. Penal Code §1203.044 (the "Economic Crime Act of 1992"), which an appellate court had ruled only applied to theft of "monetary property." The defendant had been found guilty of stealing confidential design specifications for computer chips with a value of more than $2.5 million.

In ruling that the law did not just apply to monetary thefts, but applied to the theft of trade secrets as well, the Court said:

[s]uch a conclusion would be quite inconsistent with the Legislature's intent to punish white-collar crime more vigorously than in the past and to provide improved methods for ensuring that victims of white-collar crime receive restitution.

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