Law School Case Brief
People v. Barksdale - 2008 NY Slip Op 3139, 50 A.D.3d 400, 858 N.Y.S.2d 5 (App. Div.)
Defendant's act of forcibly pushing employee out of way as he attempted to leave store with stolen merchandise established crime of robbery; conduct of codefendant in casing each store, distracting employees while defendant entered pharmacy area, and fleeing with him after theft supported conclusion that defendant was aided by another person actually present, thereby satisfying that element of second-degree robbery.
Defendant Robert Barksdale and a codefendant entered two drugstores during the early morning hours. In each store, codefendant, seemingly intent on making a purchase, interacted with store personnel as Barksdale entered the pharmacy area, which in each case, was enclosed by a wall and counter and accessible only through a door; the door was unlocked. In the first store, an employee directed Barksdale to leave the pharmacy area, and Barksdale departed without taking anything. In the second store, Barksdale stole boxes of expensive diabetic test strips from the pharmacy area, and when an employee tried to stop him, Barksdale pushed the employee out of the way with considerable force. Thereafter in New York state court, Barksdale was convicted of robbery in the second degree, burglary in the third degree (two counts), and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. Barksdale appealed.
Was Barksdale properly convicted?
The appellate division affirmed the trial court's judgment. According to the court, legally sufficient evidence supported the convictions as robbery under Penal Law § 160.00(1) was established when Barksdale forcibly pushed a store employee as Barksdale attempted to leave the store with stolen merchandise. Further, Barksdale was aided by another person actually present, which supported the conviction of second-degree robbery under Penal Law § 160.10(1), as his codefendant's conduct in casing each store and distracting employees while Barksdale entered the pharmacy area established such aid. The trespass element of burglary was established as, notwithstanding the absence of any warning sign or additional security measures, each pharmacy area was unmistakably closed to the public at the time Barksdale entered the stores.
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