Be on the lookout for a methed-out burglar in pink slippers
A person who enters a home with intent to steal something or to commit a felony is guilty of burglary.
That basic law school definition of burglary was tested when Balraj Singh Sanghera, cranked up on methamphetamine, made one bad decision after another. That’s usually what you do on meth.
Sanghera had previously pled guilty to one count of transporting cocaine and was placed on three years probation. He promptly failed to report to his probation officer.
Sanghera then borrowed a friend’s Corvette to run a 15-minute errand, but never returned. Two days later the sheriff’s department was looking for Sanghera when he ducked into “the first house he saw and tried to look for some clothes so he could disguise himself.”
For some reason he was wearing only a pair of shorts at the time. You starting to get the picture on Sanghera?
He looked for men’s clothes but found only pink women’s and kid’s slippers, which he put on. Why not.
Sanghera then went to the next house looking for men’s clothes and hid in a closet.
In the meantime, the owner of the first house came home, found the rear door open and flagged down a sheriff’s deputy. They entered the house and found Sanghera’s shorts under the bed.
Sanghera’s tracks led to the house next door. The deputy went in and found Sanghera, pink slippers and all, in the closet with the clothing and $30 he also stole.
Sanghera was charged with burglary: Breaking and entering the dwelling of another with the intent to steal or commit a felony. You know that already.
His defense, fairly clever, was that he entered for the mere purpose of hiding from the sheriff’s deputy. He had no intent to steal or commit a felony. He also claimed he had been “up” for three days on meth, so he really didn’t intend to do anything. The old “drug-induced” defense. “I spastically grabbed whatever I encountered in my drugged-addled attempt at evading the police.”
Sound like a viable defense to you?
The Sacramento Court of Appeal easily affirmed Sanghera’s conviction for burglary, determining that he entered both homes with the intent to steal. In this case clothes to assist in his escape from deputies.
The conviction was upheld for first-degree burglary, petty theft, possession of stolen property and violation of probation.
See you in seven years Sanghera.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter – Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the firm’s Web site, http://www.portersimon.com.