A bad reputation is not enough for a theft conviction

While many people facing criminal charges in Fort Wayne are appearing in court for the first time, there are some people who are repeat offenders. Although police and prosecutors will malign someone who has a criminal record, they cannot bank on a prior criminal record as being proof enough that the individual has committed a second crime. Every person, whether it is someone who has never done anything wrong before or someone who has spent most of his or her adult life in jail, deserves to have a fair and impartial trial. They also deserve to be innocent until proven guilty.

It will be important to remember that when an 83-year-old appears in court later this month on theft and burglary charges. Although she may look like a sweet, old lady, she has had a long history of stealing jewelry across the United States and across the world. Yet, just because she has done it in the past doesn't mean that she stole what police are saying she stole.

The 83-year-old's most recent conviction was in 2011 for stealing jewelry in southern California. She was sent to prison and was just released this past summer.

According to testimony in her Riverside County hearing, the woman went into a jewelry store, requesting to buy a necklace. After trying the jewelry on, she left and returned soon after. When she returned, she said that she had decided to buy a necklace a ring and some earings. After trying on several pieces of jewelry, she said she would be back the next day to make her purchases. It was only after she left that employees noticed a missing diamond ring.

Although this woman has been known to steal jewelry, unless prosecutors can prove it, they can't use her reputation alone to convict her.