Division I: Alternative Means of Burglary Doesn't Include Varying Intents
This is a case all about the alternative means doctrine. Now, as most of you know by now, The Professor does not delve much into criminal law. This case involves a burglary (of the residential variety) and the application of this doctrine.
Now the crime here is nothing spectacular. Scary, yes. Extraordinary, no. A woman woke up to find a weirdo in her apartment saying that he was the police and that he believed in God. He went and took some quarters from the counter in the kitchen and money from a wallet, and woke up the woman’s boyfriend who is sleeping on the couch.
Here, Sony tried to argue that the state was required to prove that he was either there to commit a crime against person or there to commit a crime against property. However, the burglary statute only requires an intent to commit a crime. While it’s true that burglary can be considered an alternative means crime, the two means are entering a building with intent to commit a crime or remaining in the building with an intent to commit a crime. The intent element of the burglary statute is not subject to an alternative means analysis. Once you have proven that he was there with the intent to commit a crime, any crime, that is sufficient.
Now, this doesn’t mean that there are times when one would have to prove the intent to commit a crime against a person versus the intent to commit a crime against property. However, this is limited to those cases where the charging document actually lists that intent very specifically. That was not the case here.
As such, Sony’s appeal was affirmed.