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The probable fiscal impact of implementing the bill is indeterminate due to the lack of
information on the number of persons to which the mail was addressed, whether the
addressee was a disabled or elderly individual, or of if the mail was stolen with the intent to
commit another offense. This information is necessary to identify the cases affected by the
provisions of the bill from all other theft of property cases.
HB 37 would make the offense of mail theft a Class A misdemeanor for mail stolen from less than 10 addressees, a state jail felony for between 10-30 addressees, or a felony of the third degree from over 30 addressees.
An offense would be committed "if the person appropriates mail without the effective consent of the addressee and with the intent to deprive that addressee of the mail."
If the stolen mail contained an item of identifying information and the defendant committed the offense with the intent to facilitate the offense of Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information, then this offense becomes: a state jail felony if the mail is from fewer than 10 addressees; a third degree felony if the mail is from between 10-20 addressees, a second degree felony if the mail is from between 20-50 addressees, or a first degree felony if the mail is from over 50 addressees.
The offense is increased to the next higher
category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that
at the time of the offense the actor knew or had reason to believe
that an addressee from whom the actor appropriated mail was a
disabled individual or an elderly individual.
First of all, we would like to acknowledge that the committee substitute to HB 37 represents a significant improvement over the bill as filed.
With that said, we still oppose the bill unless amended to fix language which could result in a person committing an offense without criminal intent even though there is an intent requirement.
An offense is committed "if the person appropriates mail without the effective consent of the addressee and with the intent to deprive that addressee of the mail." It is our understanding that elsewhere in statute "appropriate" is defined as "exercise control over." With this in mind, we are concerned that a person who receives mail intended for another person, and who deems the mail junk mail and throws it away, would technically be in violation depending on how the term "appropriates" is interpreted.
We recommend updating the bill to strike the word "appropriates" and replace it with "intentionally remove from a person’s mailbox or premises". With this amendment we would withdraw our objection and support the bill.