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Old 01-25-2013, 20:56   #135
Cavalry Doc
MAJ (USA Ret.)
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Republic of Texas
Posts: 42,688

Originally Posted by void * View Post
First, you are not telling me anything I don't know.

Second, lock picks are different from other tools in the sense that gloves, bolt cutters, a gerber, and coat hangers all have various uses that do not involve opening a device that is primarily intended for security - while lock picks are specifically a tool to open locks, devices which are primarily intended for security.

Third, the Virginia state statute declares that mere possession is prima facie evidence of intent.

You can claim that "possession with intent" is the key to the offense, but when the law says that mere possession is prima facie evidence of intent, then they don't have to prove intent unless *you* can show evidence you had no intent.

Your statement about Texas is what I had stated about Texas - precisely because Texas is not a prima facie state with respect to intent for burglary tools. Perhaps you should actually read what I wrote?

So say you're in Virginia, not Texas.

You get caught breaking into someone's house with a flashlight, some gloves, and a screwdriver, they're going to be considered "burgurious tools" in Virginia (and a lot of other places, for that matter, including Texas). They're basically going to argue that you are a burglar, those are your tools, and therefore, those tools are your tools for burglary - and you'll get the extra charge.

But say the cop sees gloves in your garage. What's his argument? He doesn't have one.

The cop sees lock picks in your garage. What's his argument? He can argue that you don't have a locksmith license, that picks are only used to pick locks, and that you possessed them. Then they'll cite 18.2-94 of the Virginia code, which states in part "The possession of such burglarious tools, implements or outfit by any person other than a licensed dealer, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to commit burglary, robbery or larceny." Guess what? You now have to prove you didn't have intent - precisely because the law states that mere possession is prima facie evidence of intent.

Now, do I think that a cop *would* charge you merely for having picks in your garage in plain view? That's a different question entirely. The point is that in Virginia, he technically *could*, and it would not be on the state to prove your intent - it would be on you to prove your lack of intent.

Again, I find it funny that you're trying to argue around something that is so plainly true. Why can't you just admit you were wrong when you were making accusations that I didn't understand what prima facie meant? Why do you decide to instead state something that I myself had stated (i.e. that in Texas they have to show both that you possessed them and that you had intent) as though I didn't know it already?
So, lets say I am in Texas. A place that I like much more than Virginia. I have stuff that could pick a lock, but have never picked a lock in a dishonest or illegal manner in my life, and there is no indication that I ever would.

So what? For those that don't think I need a pair of bolt cutters, I'm cool with them thinking that, but I'm also cool with the fact that I still have them in my garage and that they really can't do squat about it where I live. That being said, my bolt cutters will not be used in a crime, neither will my scary black rifle, as long as I have the ability to prevent it.

If mere possession of the tools to commit a crime was really reasonable to convict a person of a crime, every person with a "piece of male anatomy" would be convicted of intent to commit rape.

That being said, let me reiterate how dumb legislatures can be.
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