If you think you can reimburse a store owner after being caught for shoplifting and plead no contest to avoid civil penalties, the Utah Senate wants you to think again.
Wednesday, senators gave preliminary approval to a bill that will allow merchants to sue shoplifters in civil court, recovering the cost of the stolen article, if it is lost or destroyed in the theft; up to $1,000 of the cost of the article in penalty and up to $500 in court fines.Thus, if a shoftlifter grabbed a $500 TV set, and dropped it running from the store, the thief would have to pay $500 for the TV and a $500 penalty to the merchant and $500 in court fines.
Currently, if a person pleads no contest to a shoplifting charge, he doesn't have to pay the merchant anything, since the law says a person must be convicted of the crime and a no-contest plea isn't a conviction. But the sponsor of the shoplifting bill says that would be changed under the new measure because a no-contest plea would require the thief to still pay the merchant.
- Roseanne Barr a criminal? According to Rep. Joanne Milner, D-Salt Lake, the famous Utah comedian has a lot in common with the likes of cold-blooded killers such as Gary Gilmore, Ron Lafferty and Ted Bundy.
In arguing for her bill authorizing the Department of Human Services to employ security guards for the State Mental Hospital, Milner noted the hospital houses 343 of the state's most chronically mentally ill, including many of its worst killers, kidnappers and rapists.
Over the years, the mental hospital was home "to the likes of Ted Bundy, Ron Lafferty, Gary Gilmore and even Roseanne Barr," she said. When fellow lawmakers erupted in laughter, she added, "Anyone who sings the national anthem like she does is a criminal."
The bill passed.