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Name: People v. Zaun
Case #: C078962
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/25/2016
Summary

Sufficient evidence supported attempted burglary convictions where jury could reasonably conclude that defendant and his companions had the intent to enter homes to commit theft, but abandoned their plan when someone answered the front door. In 2013, Zaun and two others committed a series of burglaries during which they would first ring the front door bell of a house and, if there was no answer, would enter the house and steal property. On two occasions, the homeowner answered the door and the uninvited guest left after making an excuse for knocking on the door. Zaun was convicted of two counts of burglary, two counts of attempted burglary, and receiving stolen property. On appeal he challenged the sufficiency of the evidence of attempted burglary, claiming he and his associates were only “casing” the homes and that no intent to enter the homes was formed if a person answered the door. Held: Affirmed. When reviewing a sufficiency of the evidence claim, a reviewing court must accept logical inferences that the finder of fact might have drawn from the evidence, including the circumstantial evidence. Burglary applies to any person who enters a house with the intent to commit theft or any felony (Pen. Code, § 459). An attempt consists of the specific intent to commit the crime, and a direct but ineffectual act done towards its commission (Pen. Code, § 21, subd. (a)). Zaun’s and his companions approach in both the completed and attempted burglaries was the same: knock on the door to see if anyone was home and if not, force entry to commit a theft. From this evidence a jury could reasonably conclude that Zaun had the intent to enter the homes and commit theft before he went to the front door and only abandoned his intent when the resident answered the door. Thus, Zaun’s actions up to that point were “ineffectual acts towards the commission of burglaries.”

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C078962.PDF