People v. Farell, 28 Cal. 4th 381 (2002)

On his last day of employment as an electrical engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation, Alejandro Farell printed out confidential design specifications for certain computer chips, which could have been used in designing other technology. The evidence of Farell’s misappropriation was obtained during the execution of a search warrant at his home a few days after his employment ended. Farell was subsequently convicted of violating California Penal Code Section 499c, which prohibits the misappropriation of trade secrets. At issue in the case was whether the law requires the imposition of a minimum county jail sentence as a condition of probation when there is a conviction for theft of property other than money, as in this case. The California Supreme Court concluded that the law does require such a minimum county jail sentence even though Farell had stolen non-monetary property.