NSC denies Quilici appeal

WINNEMUCCA — The Nevada Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a local woman convicted last year of giving away more than $10,000 in merchandise while working as a cashier at Walmart.

Laura Quilici was convicted of felony embezzlement in October 2010. Evidence was presented that, in some cases, Quilici did not charge customers or did not charge the full price for merchandise customers were carrying out of the store.

She was sentenced to a 36-month term of probation, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,382, and must complete 150 hours of community service.  She may not go into the Winnemucca Walmart for the entire term of her probation.

THE APPEAL:  The defendant was represented on appeal by Richard Cornell.

In the appeal Cornell argued Quilici’s Constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial were violated because the facts of the case did not fit the charge she was ultimately convicted of.

In order to convict of embezzlement the state would have to prove 1) she had constructive possession of the items she gave away, and 2) she personally gained from these giveaways.

There was no evidence of this, Cornell argued.

He added there is a different between theft and larceny and embezzlement:  that difference is entrustment. Quilici was never entrusted or in lawful possession of the items she gave away; therefore, no embezzlement.

Insufficient evidence existed to prove the elements of the crime charged, he argued.

He also argued Judge Michael Montero erred in failing to declare a mistrial after a potential juror made a negative comment about the defendant in front of the other jurors.

Further, that Montero abused his discretion when he allowed to potential jurors to be dismissed for cause where no cause existed.

Two jurors acknowledged they knew Quilici and her mother and it would be difficult for them to render a guilty verdict, but they would do it if necessary and would abide by the law.

DENYING THE APPEAL:  In denying the appeal, the NSC ruled the jury’s verdict would not be disturbed where sufficient evidence of guilty existed – with specific reference to the issue of entrustment.

Further, they affirmed the decisions made by Montero.  The NSC ruled there was no error made by the judge and no abuse of discretion.

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