surprised by the owner within the plantation as they were carrying with them the coconuts they had gathered. The accused fled the scene, dropping the coconuts they had seized, and were subsequently arrested after the owner reported the incident to the police. After trial, the accused were convicted of qualified theft, and the issue they raised on appeal was that they were guilty only of simple theft. The Court affirmed that the theft
was qualified, following Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code, 79 but further held that the accused were guilty only of frustrated qualified theft. It does not appear from the Empelis decision that the issue of whether the theft was consummated or frustrated was raised by any of the parties. What does appear, though, is that the disposition of that issue was contained in only two sentences, which we reproduce in full: However, the crime committed is only frustrated qualified theft because petitioners were not able to perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the felony as a consequence. They were not able to carry the coconuts away from the plantation due to the timely arrival of the owner. 80 No legal reference or citation was offered for this averment, whether Diño, Flores or the Spanish authorities who may have bolstered the conclusion. There are indeed evident problems with this formulation in Empelis. Empelis held that the crime was only frustrated because the actors "were not able to perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the felon as a consequence." 81 However, per Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, the crime is frustrated "when the offender performs all the acts of execution," though not producing the felony as a result. If the offender was not able to perform all the acts of execution, the crime is attempted, provided that the non-performance was by reason of some cause or accident other than spontaneous desistance. Empelis concludes that the crime was frustrated because not all of the acts of execution were performed due to the timely arrival of the owner. However, following Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, these facts should elicit the conclusion that the crime was only attempted, especially given that the acts were not performed because of the timely arrival of the owner, and not because of spontaneous desistance by the offenders. For these reasons, we cannot attribute weight to Empelis as we consider the present petition. Even if the two sentences we had cited actually aligned with the definitions provided in Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, such passage bears no reflection that it is the product of the considered evaluation of the relevant legal or jurisprudential thought. Instead, the passage is offered as if it were sourced from an indubitable legal premise so settled it required no further explication.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 40 pages?
- Fall '19
- Supreme Court of the United States, theft, Lists of United States Supreme Court cases