First impression on residential entry issue

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Since a man who had permission to be in his ex-girlfriend's garage did not have permission to be in her house, he committed residential entry as a Class D felony when he kicked in her locked kitchen door to use the phone. The issue whether an attached garage is considered a dwelling under the residential entry statute is an issue of first impression for the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In Rahn Davidson v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0810-CR-898, Rahn Davidson contended he didn't commit residential entry because he had permission to be in his ex-girlfriend's garage. After they broke up, she allowed him to store some of his belongings in her garage, but did not allow him into her house. Davidson argued that Indiana caselaw holds that a garage is considered part of a dwelling for purposes of the burglary statute. Therefore in applying that line of reasoning to his case, he had permission to be in his ex-girlfriend's home and can't be convicted of residential entry.

The Indiana Court of Appeals found no Indiana cases dealing with this particular issue, so they turned to cases from other jurisdictions. The appellate court used State v. Cochran, 463 A.2d 618 (Conn. 1983), State v. McDonald, 346 N.W.2d 351 (Minn. 1984), and Wesolic v. State, 837 P.2d 130 (Alaska Ct. App. 1992), to hold the locked kitchen in the ex-girlfriend's residence constituted a separate structure or enclosed space for purposes of Indiana Code Section 35-41-1-10, and thus Davidson's entry into the kitchen constitutes the offense of residential entry, wrote Senior Judge Betty Barteau.

The ex-girlfriend gave Davidson permission to enter the garage, but not her house. The evidence shows there was a clear demarcation between the garage and the locked kitchen. Where there is an evidentiary boundary, such as a door that was locked at the time of the incident, the area is not only a part of the whole dwelling, but also a separate structure or enclosed space, she wrote.

Using Davidson's argument that his entry into the kitchen doesn't constitute residential entry because he was already in the dwelling amounts to carte blanche for anyone who obtains consent to enter only a portion of the residence, the judge continued. Under that rationale, a person couldn't be convicted of residential entry with respect to a separate portion of the residence even if he or she kicked in a locked door.

When the state seeks a conviction under the residential entry statute based upon unlawful entry of a separate structure or enclosed space within a dwelling, the state's burden includes a showing that any permission to be in one section of the dwelling didn't extend to the separate structure where the alleged residential entry occurred, wrote Senior Judge Barteau.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.