The Kansas Supreme Court today reversed a decision concerning a Wyandotte County man convicted of aggravated burglary.
In a split decision, with three justices dissenting, the Supreme Court looked closely at the definition of aggravated burglary in this case.
The case was about a man who went into what he thought was an abandoned house in Wyandotte County and stayed the night. Michael C. Daws challenged his conviction of aggravated burglary in Wyandotte County District Court. According to court documents, in November of 2011 a homeowner returned to discover the front door kicked in and Daws inside.
The homeowner had been in the process of moving out, entered the home and found Daws inside, court documents stated. The homeowner told Daws to leave and Daws complied. Afterward, the homeowner discovered some boxes had been moved around and property removed from them, court documents stated. The homeowner also noticed two grocery bags containing property that did not belong to him.
Daws was charged with aggravated burglary based on the intent to commit theft. The punishment for theft can range from minor to serious, if you have found yourself in the same shoes at Daws you might be want to looking someone like this felony defense attorney Raleigh NC or a law firm that is local to you to help with your case.
Court documents stated that at trial, Daws admitted he was in the house. “He testified he saw someone kick in the front door, followed that person inside, and then stayed for a night because he thought the house was abandoned,” court documents said. “Daws confirmed Ramos found him inside the next day and that he left when asked. Daws testified he never intended to take any property.”
Daws was found guilty in district court and appealed on five points. He argued there was insufficient evidence of aggravated burglary because the victim was not present on entry; the district court should have instructed the jury on simple burglary; the district court erroneously denied a motion for mistrial; the jury was improperly instructed on reasonable doubt; and the district court should not have used Daws’ criminal history to enhance his sentence.
The Supreme Court said the last two points were already decided adversely to Daws in other cases.
The court stated that since Daws was convicted under the “entering into” means of the aggravated burglary charge, the conviction must be reversed because there was no human being present when he entered it.
“In light of the uncontroverted testimony that Daws spent a day inside the victim’s home before the homeowner returned, the remaining within means of committing aggravated burglary was the appropriate charge,” the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Dan Biles, stated. “Since the jury was only instructed on the entering into means of committing aggravated robbery and the victim was not present when Daws entered the residence, we hold there was insufficient evidence to sustain the aggravated burglary conviction and reverse that conviction.”
The court also overruled the line of cases that the earlier Daws decision relied on.
The dissenting opinion from Justice Marla Luckert today stated: “Not only do I disagree with the majority’s reasoning that led to those decisions, I am troubled the law surrounding burglary and aggravated burglary becomes more confused under the majority’s rationale.”
The decision is online at www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2016/20160219/108716.pdf.