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Name: People v. Harris
Case #: E058521
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/25/2014

There was sufficient evidence to support a Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (c)(21) enhancement where the perpetrator entered a converted garage that had no direct access to the main part of the residence. Harris was convicted of first degree burglary, with an enhancement that a person other than an accomplice was present in the residence (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (c)(21)). The evidence at trial showed that, in the middle of the night, the victims heard Harris enter their converted garage, which they used as a guestroom. After seeing Harris through the bedroom window, one of the victim’s said, “Hand me the gun,” which scared Harris away. The victims called 911, and Harris was found in the bushes near the residence. On appeal, Harris conceded the first degree burglary but contended that no other person was present because the unoccupied guest area he entered did not provide access to the occupied main residence. Held: Affirmed. The victims’ presence in their bedroom when Harris burglarized their guestroom satisfied the burglary special circumstance. A structure is part of a dwelling if it is functionally interconnected with and immediately contiguous to other portions of the house. Here, the converted garage was physically attached to the main residence, was covered by the same roof, and had occasionally been used by the victims as their bedroom. In construction and use, the guestroom was part of the main residence. There is no requirement of an interior connecting door before a room such as a garage may be treated as part of a residence. The victims were within the outer walls that enclosed the garage whether or not there was an interior connecting door.