Vacant Home Sufficient to Support Home Invasion Conviction


Case: People v. Alexander

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )

Judges: Per Curiam – Boonstra, Wilder, and Meter

Issues:

Sufficiency of the evidence to support the defendant’s first-degree home invasion conviction; People v. Wilder; “Dwelling” defined (MCL 750.110a(1)(a)); “Abode” & “residence” defined; People v. Powell

Summary:

Holding that the house was a dwelling as defined in MCL 750.110a(1)(a), and there was sufficient evidence to support the defendant’s first-degree home invasion conviction, the court affirmed. He argued on appeal that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the house was a dwelling, contending that the evidence showed it “was vacant at the time of the break-in.” He asserted that “it had not been merely temporarily abandoned,” because the owner (A) stated “that he had not lived in the house for at least six months or possibly longer and that he planned on selling it.” The court noted that “MCL 750.110a(1)(a) defines a dwelling as ‘a structure or shelter that is used permanently or temporarily as a place of abode, including an appurtenant structure attached to that structure or shelter.’ An ‘abode’ is ‘a place of residence,’ . . . and a residence is ‘a building used as a home[.]’” A “residence does not lose its status as a ‘building used as a home’ even though it remains vacant for a while.” Although A “did not intend to continue use of the house as his abode, he did intend that it be used as an abode by someone.” He testified “he was painting the house and getting ready to sell it. In other words, he intended that the house be used as an abode by a new owner.” Also, the fact “he was returning regularly to the house in order to prepare it for sale” showed that “it had not been abandoned.”

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