Court to decide if shoplifters can be charged with burglary

Tennessee
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court says it will decide whether a prosecutor can continue to charge some shoplifters with burglary.

Three years ago, Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen began charging thieves who steal from Walmart and a handful of other retailers at least twice with burglary, which is a felony, instead of shoplifting, which is a misdemeanor.

The initiative quickly became known in legal circles as a “Walmart burglary” and it was also criticized by some as prosecutorial overreach.

Knoxville attorney Patrick Phillips persuaded the high court to take the case after three appellate court judges disagreed on it.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the court is making the rare move of inviting legal debate in the run-up to its decision.

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