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Name: People v. Vasquez
Case #: B255131
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/31/2015

House was inhabited for purposes of first degree burglary (Pen. Code, § 460) where a new owner was renovating the house but had not fully moved in. Vasquez was evicted from his home. His landlord then sold the house to Banks, who began to renovate the house before fully moving in. She did not begin spending the night there. One day, while Banks was gone, Vasquez and his friends broke into the house. A neighbor, who recognized Vasquez, saw him break into the house and alerted police. When Banks returned, she noticed that some cookies, bottled water, paint jars, a screwdriver, a GPS, and her hair extensions were missing. Vasquez was charged and convicted of first degree burglary (Pen. Code, § 460) and misdemeanor trespass (Pen. Code, § 602.5). On appeal, he argued that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he broke into an “inhabited” dwelling. Held: Affirmed. Every burglary of an inhabited dwelling house is burglary of the first degree. (Pen. Code, § 460, subd. (a).) Inhabited means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not. (People v. Hughes (2002) 27 Cal.4th 287, 354.) Although Banks was not sleeping in the house, she was in or around it constantly while renovating it. She switched the utilities into her name, introduced herself to neighbors, notified creditors of her new address, and began painting and renovating the house. She added window locks and left tools and other personal belongings in the home. This evidence was sufficient to prove the house was inhabited. Vasquez also raised a number of instructional issues, which the court rejected.