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In re Richard M. - 205 Cal. App. 3d 7, 252 Cal. Rptr. 36 (1988)


The parental obligation to provide for necessaries does not imply a possessory right in the parental residence. The obligation to provide for necessaries need not be fulfilled by providing such items in kind. Financial support is all that is required by law. No possessory right in a parental residence is implied by this duty of financial support. 


Defendant-appellant Richard M., a minor, admitted to committing burglary, was declared a ward of the court, and was committed to a county youth center. He escaped, then committed burglary again by entering the locked apartment of his father and stepmother, by force and without their consent, with the intent to take food, a sleeping bag, and a folding mattress. He was convicted of two counts of burglary under Cal. Penal Code § 459 and escape from a county youth center. On appeal, defendant-appellant contended there was insufficient evidence to support the inference he had intent to steal upon entry. He argued that he took the items in the exercise of his possessory right, because of the parental duty to furnish one's child with the necessities of life.


Was defendant minor's conviction for burglary correct where there was substantial evidence of the requisite intent to commit burglary?




The appellate court affirmed the judgment, explaining that intent is usually inferred from all the facts and circumstances revealed by the evidence; it is rarely directly provable. The court found that the facts provided substantial evidence of the requisite intent to commit burglary. Here, larcenous intent was reasonably inferred from the facts and circumstances revealed by the evidence, where defendant stipulated to forcibly entering the apartment, without consent, and took the intended items. Moreover, no possessory claim of right in the taken items or in entering the apartment existed under a statutory duty for parents to provide the necessities of life, where the stepmother told defendant his belongings were not in the apartment, and he was not welcome in the apartment. Additionally, no evidence supported a bona fide belief that defendant had a right to take the items. Finally, as a ward of the court, the court was required to provide him the necessities of life.

As for the standard of review on appeal, the court explained that it was not concerned with whether the evidence might have supported an inference that defendant held another conceivable intent. Instead, the court views the evidence in the light most favorable to respondent People and presumes the existence of facts the trier could reasonably deduce from the evidence in support of the judgment. When that evidence justifies a reasonable inference of the felonious intent required, the verdict may not be disturbed on appeal. 

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