A man entered a home in Dade County, Florida. A New York Criminal Lawyer said he did this in the middle of the night without the knowledge and consent of the two people who lived in the premises, a brother and a sister. The man ransacked the house and took away with him a color television set. He was later apprehended by the police.
Charges of larceny and burglary were brought against him. The larceny charge was brought for the taking of the television while the charge of burglary was charged for breaking and entering into the house owned by another person for the purpose of committing a crime.
The criminal information filed against him alleged that sometime on May 9, 1976 in Dade County, the man unlawfully entered the house owned by VA, the owner and custodian of the home with intent to commit the offense of petit larceny.
The man pleaded not guilty to the charges. He also moved for the waiver of trial before a jury. The court tried him without a jury. During the trial, the prosecutor was able to prove the ownership of the house. But the person who was proved at trial to be the owner of the dwelling house that was burglarized turned out to the sister of the man who was alleged to be the owner of the dwelling house in the information filed against the man. There was then a variance between the allegation in the information and the actual proof offered and admitted into evidence at trial. A Bronx Criminal Lawyer said the difference between the allegation in the information and the evidence adduced at trial is that real property owner alleged in the information was the brother while the evidence presented at trial proved that it was really the sister who was the owner of the dwelling house.
The accused man appealed his conviction. He claims that his conviction cannot be sustained seeing that what was alleged in the information is so different from the fact which was presented at trial. The only question before the Court is whether or not the variance in the name and identity of the real owner of the house is a ground for setting aside the conviction.
The Court held that the elements of the crime of burglary are: that the accused entered a dwelling house or conveyance; that the dwelling house or conveyance belonged to another; and, that the accused entered the dwelling house in order to commit a crime. All these elements of the crime of burglary must be alleged in the criminal information or indictment and the same elements must be duly proved by evidence during the trial.
The prosecution has duly proved that the accused entered the premises of the dwelling house. The prosecution also proved that the dwelling house belonged to a person other than the accused. The prosecution also proved that the accused entered the dwelling place belonging to another with the intent to commit larceny. The larceny was proven because the television which was taken from the dwelling house was found later by the police in the possession of the accused. The Court held that the crime of burglary was proven and the conviction was proper.
The Court also held that it was sufficient to allege in the indictment or criminal information that the dwelling house was owned by another person, that is, a person other than the accused. Here, the person alleged in the indictment as the owner was a person different from the real owner. Under the existing jurisprudence, the term “owner” may include a person possessing the premises even if he or she is a mere tenant. The Court held that what was important was to prove the fact that the house was owned and possessed by another other than the defendant.
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