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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. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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