Penetrating airspace between open screen and sliding glass door is sufficient to constitute entry for purposes of burglary. A woman called police after she saw McEntire try to pull open her locked sliding glass door. Thereafter, McEntire broke the glass door to gain entry. But by that time the woman had fled from her home. The jury convicted McEntire of burglary and a number of other offenses and found true a 10-year violent felony enhancement pursuant to Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (b)(1)(C), based on evidence that McEntire committed a violent felony (burglary of an inhabited dwelling while a person was present) for the benefit of a gang. McEntire appealed, arguing that the enhancement should be stricken because there was no evidence that he entered the house when a person was present, as the woman had fled by the time he entered her home by breaking the glass door. Held: Affirmed. “[A] burglary is complete upon the slightest partial entry of any kind, with the requisite intent.” The test for what constitutes the outer boundary of a building for purposes of burglary is “whether a reasonable person would believe that the element of the building in question enclosed an area into which a member of the general public could not pass without authorization.” (People v. Valencia (2002) 28 Cal.4th 1, 12, disapproved on other grounds in People v. Yarbrough (2012) 54 Cal.4th 889, 894.) In People v. Nible (1988) 200 Cal.App.3d 838, 844-845, the court held that the area between a screen and a window encloses such an area. In this case, there was an open screen door next to a sliding glass door. The Court of Appeal concluded that a screen door does not need to be closed when an intruder penetrates the space behind it to constitute a burglarious entry. By reaching into the airspace between the screen and the sliding glass door to pull on the door handle, McEntire entered the home. Since this occurred while the woman was still inside, there was sufficient evidence to sustain the enhancement.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/F067666.PDF