State v. Jones, ___ N.C. App. ___, 808 S.E.2d 280 (Nov. 7, 2017)

In this armed robbery case involving a jewelry store heist, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that collateral estoppel precluded the admission of a receipt, identified at trial by witness Kristy Riojas of Got Gold pawn shop. The receipt, issued on the date of the offense, contained an itemized list of the items the defendant pawned, a copy of the defendant’s driver’s license, and the defendant’s signature. It was introduced to establish that the defendant was in possession of the stolen property shortly after it was taken, under the doctrine of recent possession. The defendant argued that the ticket was not admissible because the defendant previously had been acquitted on the charge of obtaining property by false pretenses, based on pawning jewelry at Got Gold. The defendant argued that based on his prior acquittal, the State was collaterally estopped from introducing the pawn shop receipt at his later trial for armed robbery to establish recent possession. The defendant did not dispute that he could be prosecuted for the robbery, notwithstanding his prior acquittal. Instead, he focused on the admissibility of evidence that was admitted in the prior trial. The court rejected the defendant’s argument, concluding that he could not establish that his acquittal of obtaining property by false pretenses represented a determination by the jury that he was not in possession of stolen property shortly after it was taken. The court noted, in part, that the doctrine of recent possession, which allows the jury to infer guilt based upon possession of stolen goods shortly after a theft, includes no requirement that the defendant made a false representation about the goods, attempt to obtain something of value, or deceive another party about ownership of the items.