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Name: In re Leanna W.
Case #: H026222
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/13/2004
Subsequent History: 8/10/04: revw. den.

Incidental use of utilities is insufficient to show that a minor who had a party in her grandmother’s house was guilty of first degree burglary. While her grandmother was out of town, the minor entered her home without permission and had a party for invited guests. During the party, some of the grandmother’s alcohol was consumed, DirecTV services were ordered, and some items were taken from the premises. The juvenile court found insufficient evidence to support a finding that Leanna, rather than one of the guests, took the items from the house, and so refused to sustain a grand theft allegation. The juvenile court held, however, that because utilities were used during the party and alcohol was consumed in Leanna’s presence, the evidence was sufficient to sustain a first degree burglary finding. The Court of Appeal reversed, finding insufficient evidence to show that Leanna, as opposed to other party attendees, ordered the DirecTV services or took items from the home. The court also found no evidence that Leanna had personally consumed alcohol, and held that the incidental use of utilities such as electricity was not sufficient to sustain a first degree burglary charge. The court distinguished other cases holding that entering a building to take a shower or make long-distance phone calls was sufficient for purposes of first degree burglary. Finally, the court reversed a finding that Leanna had committed vandalism, again finding no evidence to show that Leanna rather than one of her guests damaged the premises.