Does wealth - social class matter in law? Grand larceny - Job Position - Power - Do they have more rights / privileges than us?

Lets say a prestigious university is having a special guest speaker. This guest speaker is giving a short lecture to 2000 students. Also, this guest speaker is a billionaire. The billionaire speaker needed a laptop to show the huge audience an example of what he was talking about from the internet. So he just took my laptop from my lap without my permission and started using it. The laptop is worth over $1200. Will this billionaire be charged with grand larceny and go to jail or prison? What else will he be charged with? Another question, if a teacher takes a phone valued at over $1000 from a spoiled student and smashes it on the ground in front of the class to make a point, will this teacher go to jail? I have seen many videos of this happening. Please answer all these scenarios.

Selden, NY -

Attorney Answers (3)

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Administrative Law Lawyer - Pasadena, CA

Let's say you do your own homework. That would be your instructor's preference.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more
Eric Edward Rothstein

Eric Edward Rothstein

Criminal Defense Attorney - New York, NY

Is this for an exam?

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
James S. Lawrence

James S. Lawrence

Constitutional Law Attorney - Southfield, MI

If the speaker took the laptop, and you did not object, a reasonable person could take that as a consent by you to the initial taking. That would pretty much rule out criminal liability, though there might possibly be civil liability.

If you never got the laptop back, you might contact the university administration, or the speaker himself, and ask to get it back, or to get compensation. There is a substantial possibility that could work, and no lawsuit would be required. However, if it did not work, you would have a reasonable basis for a lawsuit for failing to return the property.

The right of a teacher to seize and destroy property of a student sometimes exists, and sometimes does not. A good place to start would be the rules of the school. If the rules prohibit certain activity, and provide for seizure of the phone, then of course the teacher could do it, since the student agrees to abide by the rules of the school when signing up to attend. This would apply regardless of whether the student was spoiled.

Even if it turns out that the teacher did not have the authority to do it, it is unlikely it would result in criminal charges because the teacher would be acting with the good faith (though mistaken) belief he had the right to do it. That would in some cases still allow for civil liability of the teacher.

Contact me at 248-399-6930 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed... more

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