People v. Gauze

15 Cal. 3d 709, 125 Cal. Rptr. 773, 542 P.2d 1365 (1975)



A burglary is an entry which invades a possessory right in a building, and it must be committed by a person who has no right to be in the building.


After defendant and his roommate had a violent quarrel, defendant returned to their apartment with a gun and shot him. The trial court convicted defendant of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. He appealed, and the appellate court affirmed the assault conviction but reversed the burglary conviction.


Could defendant be found guilty of burglary for entering his own home with the intent to harm his roommate?




The codification of the common law crime of burglary retained the element that burglary could not be committed by someone who had a right to be in the structure or who was invited to enter. Defendant could not be guilty of burglarizing his own home. His entry into the apartment, even for a felonious purpose, invaded no possessory right of habitation. More importantly, defendant had an absolute right to enter the apartment. Accordingly, he could not commit a burglary in his own home.

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