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Thread: Criminal Law case

  1. #1
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    Default Criminal Law case

    Princess Mia keeps her fabulous diamond, the Pink Panther, on her bedside table. Sir Charles Litton intends to steal it. He goes to her home, at night, and climbs through an open windoiow, intending to steal the diamond from her bedside table. He does so, without waking the Princess. He is caught and charged with burglary, which is defined as breaking and entering a dwelling house, at night, with the intent to commit a larceny. Since Litton had the requisite intent and physical act, is he culpable under the Statue?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    In which state does burglary contain the elements of "breaking and entering"?

    Actually in California he did commit burglary.

    Burglary is:

    1. Any person
    2. who enters any (qualified) structure (not all structures qualify such as a phone booth, but most do)
    3. with the intent PRIOR to entering
    4. to commit ANY theft or ANY felony.

    The value of the property taken does not matter, nor does the crime require asportation. The crime was complete at the moment he crossed the threshhold to enter the dwelling.

    Likewise, if Litton decides to enter Mia's house to rape her, the moment he crosses the threshhold he has committed a burglary. He commits a burglary even if Mia invites Litton to her home as long as he had the intent prior to entering to commit any theft or any felonly.

    If a boy decides to enter a 7-11 to shoplift a 5 cent package of gum, once the boy enters the building he commited a burglary.

    Taking it a step farther, Litton trains his dog to recognize the diamond and the dog jumps in the window and snatches it up in his mouth and returns it to Litton, or better yet, Litton uses a fishing pole to cast a hook in through her window and snags the diamond and reels it back to himself. In both examples Litton committed burglary due to his "constructed" presence in the house by virtue of his dog or fishing lure.

    Now I'm interested in hearing the new twist you are ready to drop. You aren't going to say it is actually a robbery are you?
    Last edited by pm01; 06-02-2007 at 11:42 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    Hey pm,

    It is true that many states do not require “breaking”. In this case breaking is a requirement and climbing through an open window is not “breaking”.

    Further, should Mia invite Litton or a boy at 7/11 while the store is open for business, there is no burglary but only larceny. While breaking is not always required, a burglar has to enter the premises uninvited or by fraud. Where entry is welcomed, there is no burglary.

    Robbery is basically a larceny with force involved..

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    Oh yeah, if that is the definition of burglary in California, then Litton would be charged with burglary.

    Overall, good knowledge of the subject pm.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    I think we'd have to ask Chief Inspector Clouseau.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    Quote Originally Posted by Big View Post
    Hey pm,

    It is true that many states do not require ?breaking?. In this case breaking is a requirement and climbing through an open window is not ?breaking?.

    Further, should Mia invite Litton or a boy at 7/11 while the store is open for business, there is no burglary but only larceny. While breaking is not always required, a burglar has to enter the premises uninvited or by fraud. Where entry is welcomed, there is no burglary.

    Robbery is basically a larceny with force involved..
    Statutes and their elements of crime (and obviously case law) vary between states. If you post interesting criminal law questions you might need to clarify the state in which we are to form our answer. I better understand how to read your question. New York (or the jurisdiction of your scenario) and California clearly use different elements. Federal constitutional law are the same, but state constitutional and state laws differ. This is the reasoning for my asking which state requires "breaking and enter", and tried to clearly frame my answers were based on California state law. I answered corrected based on California, but defer to you for New York, or whatever state you are studying under.

    In California, there is absolutely no element of being on the premises without permission. I have arrested many people (probably well over a 100) for (shoplift) burglary. The turning point is proving the intent. A classic bank robbery, in California, is also a burglary and if arrested are booked for both. The DA may charge, combine or drop at their discretion.

    In California larceny is merely a synonym for theft (the taking of property of another with the intention to permanently deprive). Theft is broken into two basic groups: grand theft and petty theft. There is lengthy description of grand theft but very generally it is the theft of property with a value of $400 or more, or the taking of certain indigenous fruit/vegetable > $100, the theft of any car or firearm irrespective of its value. All other thefts are considered petty. I forgot to mention that a pick-pocket theft is also grand theft.

    If you invite me to a party in your San Francisco home and knowing you that have a bundle of cash hidden in your desk I accept the invitation with the prior intent to take it during the party. After arriving you leave me alone in the room and I take your cash. That is burglary but it?s the prosecutor?s burden to prove the intent was formed outside th premises and not after already arriving. It?s not always easy, but it isn't too difficult.

    If "permission" is required in another state, and I don't doubt it does, could not one try to raise the claim that an implied "without permission" existed if the intent to commit a theft existed before entering? After all what business, property owner, etc would grant permission to someone who had the intent to steal prior to entering; therefore satisfying the "without permission" element?

    In California robbery requires force or fear, which both were absent in your scenario. That's why I was asking.
    Last edited by pm01; 06-03-2007 at 08:45 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    Hey pm,

    According to my sources someone that is invited through owner's initiative is not a burglar.

    For example someone says: "Hey, I know you are good with fixing things, can you come and fix my computer?" In this case there is no entering element satisfied even if this person thinks: "Cool, I will steal some diamonds in there as well".

    Why? Because once the owner invites this person, the owner made a decision on his own that this person is ok to come in.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    If your source is basing their statement on California law they are incorrect. Which state are you referring to? I think I recall you saying you are attending law school. Generally speaking burglary is a state statute and so standards of element differ. You invite me as a computer repair person to come into your home and I had the intent prior to entering to take property I have clear, 100% committed burglary...in California. The DA will have to prove when the intent was formed, however. This may not be correct in the state your source is familar, but in California the repair person has commited burglary. Check 459 PC of the California penal code and read the statute. Then you might want me to dig up some case law to show, but if you have access to the law school db you can find it online without me.

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

    I defer to your source's info for THAT particular state, but you know its a mistake to apply your source's standards to all states. Each state sets this standard for state laws. Am I making sense?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Criminal Law case

    pm,

    I am not in law school. You don't have to be in law school to learn some law. My sources are general for all the states. I guess California might be different.

    What I want to know is how are you going to prove intent prior to entering if the person was invited without fraud? A defendant will always say I was invited and took something when I saw it and liked it. How are you going to prove it if the person has absolutely no history of theft?
    Last edited by Big; 06-03-2007 at 09:07 AM.

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