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State v. Hayward

Supreme Court of Maine

March 2, 2017

STATE OF MAINE
v.
BETHANY HAYWARD

          Argued: February 7, 2017

          James M. Mason, Esq. (orally), Brunswick, for appellant Bethany Hayward

          Geoffrey Rushlau, District Attorney, and Jeffrey Baroody, Asst. Dist. Atty. (orally), Prosecutorial District VI, Rockland, for appellee State of Maine

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          MEAD, J.

         [¶1] Bethany Hayward appeals from a judgment of conviction of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 353(1)(B)(6) (2016), and theft by deception (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 354(1)(B)(6) (2016), entered by the trial court (Knox County, Stokes, J.) following a jury trial. Hayward contends that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support either conviction. She also appeals from her sentence, arguing that the court violated her right to be free from double jeopardy by convicting and sentencing her on both counts of theft without consolidating them. See State v. Murphy, 2015 ME 62, ¶ 27, 124 A.3d 647. We affirm both the judgments and sentences.

         I. BACKGROUND

         [¶2] "Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the jury could rationally have found the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Haag, 2012 ME 94, ¶ 2, 48 A.3d 207.

         [¶3] On August 22, 2014, Bethany Hayward was shopping at a Walmart in Thomaston. Hayward's demeanor and the merchandise in her cart caught the attention of an asset protection associate employed by Walmart. He noted that Hayward appeared to be removing adhesive, barcoded labels from adult shirts and putting them on different shirts. Eventually, Hayward proceeded to the self-checkout terminals[1] at the front of the store.

         [¶4] The Walmart associate continued to observe Hayward as she used the self-checkout terminal. He saw her repeatedly scan one white t-shirt while bagging different t-shirts, which suggested to him that "she was trying to make the register believe that the item being scanned was being put into the bag but it was not the same as what was being placed in." Anticipating that Hayward intended to leave the store with merchandise that had not been correctly paid for, the Walmart associate telephoned the police.

         [¶5] Hayward's entire transaction at the self-checkout terminal was recorded by a store surveillance camera, and the video footage was shown to the jury. The video shows Hayward misusing the self-checkout process multiple times: she repeatedly scanned a single white t-shirt while putting different colored shirts into a bag in the bagging area, scanned a single placemat and then simultaneously placed three placemats into a bag, scanned a set of plastic bowls containing several gel shoe inserts but placed both the bowls and inserts into a bag without scanning the inserts, and scanned one item of girls' clothing but placed what appears to be several items of clothing in the bag.

         [¶6] After spending a total of thirty-three minutes at the self-checkout terminal, [2] Hayward paid for the items that had been scanned and left the store. The Walmart asset protection associate intercepted her and brought her to an office where she was interviewed by a Thomaston police officer. The interview was recorded in part and played for the jury. Hayward denied switching labels on t-shirts, claiming that she had reattached tags that had fallen off, and explained that she thought all the items were correctly scanned. She gave various explanations for why items did not appear on the receipt and expressed that the self-checkout had been confusing to use, but she admitted that a store associate had instructed her to scan each item separately.

         [¶7] The Walmart associate later scanned the items that were in Hayward's cart when she exited the store and produced an itemized receipt reflecting the total value of that merchandise. Comparing that receipt to the receipt that Hayward received from the self-checkout terminal, he determined that the total difference in the value between what was in her cart and what she had scanned, which he testified at trial was $93.80.[3] The discrepancies in the receipts reflect Hayward's failure to scan seventeen t-shirts costing $5.00 each and five t-shirts costing $3.00 each while instead repeatedly scanning a t-shirt costing $2.00. They also indicate that many items-including two girls' shirts, six girls' tank-tops, five girls' shorts, six pairs of girls' sandals, two pint-sized mums, two placemats, and a bag of candy-had simply not been scanned at all.

         [¶8] On February 13, 2015, Hayward was charged by indictment with one count of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 353(1)(B)(6), and one count of theft by deception (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 354(1)(B)(6).[4] She pleaded not guilty to both charges. Following a trial on March 22, 2016, the jury found Hayward guilty of both counts of theft. At a sentencing hearing on April 28, 2016, the court sentenced Hayward on each count to ...


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