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Arizona Defendant Asks for Reversal in Burglary Case, Arguing He Had Permission to Enter Friend’s Apartment

In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant asked the court to reconsider his guilty verdict in a burglary case. The defendant was originally convicted after a jury unanimously decided he had broken into a friend’s apartment with the intent to steal. According to the defendant, the prosecution had not sufficiently proven that he did not have permission to be inside the apartment. Disagreeing with the defendant, the court denied his appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant asked a friend of his if he could temporarily stay in her garage. The friend agreed, and the defendant spent a few nights sleeping in the apartment garage. One night, however, he started yelling in the middle of the night. The friend told him he had to leave the next day.

The friend drove the defendant to work the next morning, later asking him to chip in for gas. Later that day, the defendant showed up at the friend’s apartment while she was not there. He knocked in a window, climbed into the apartment, and took a red gas can with him from the apartment. Investigators came to the scene, found his footprints, and arrested him immediately.

The defendant’s case went to trial. After several defense attorneys withdrew from representation, the defendant decided to represent himself. A jury found him guilty of burglary in the second degree, and he was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to show that entered the apartment without permission. According to him, he was friends with the apartment’s resident, and there was no reason to think he did not have a legitimate reason to be inside.

The court looked at the trial record and noted the friend’s testimony, which made clear that she did not authorize the defendant’s entry. The court also noted the broken window. The defendant claimed he always intended to fix the window, and that breaking it in the first place was an accident. The court found, however, that a jury was reasonable in finding the defendant guilty of burglary given the combination of the friend’s testimony and the broken window.

Therefore, the court denied the defendant’s appeal. His conviction and resulting sentence remained in place.

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