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People v. Staples

    Brief Fact Summary. Defendant was charged with attempted burglary after renting out space directly above a bank and drilling almost through the floor.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The relevant factor to determine whether an attempt has been made is whether the acts of Defendant have reached such a stage of advancement that they can be classified as an attempt.

    Facts. Under an assumed name, Defendant rented office space directly over a bank. During the pre-rental period while the landlord was making repairs to the office space, Defendant brought in drilling tools, gas tanks, blowtorch, and rugs. Defendant commenced drilling holes in the floor of the office space but stopped before they went through the floor. The landlord notified the police and turned over the tools and equipment to them. Defendant was found guilty of attempted burglary and appealed.

    Issue. Whether Defendant’s acts went beyond mere preparation thus supporting a conviction of attempted burglary.

    Held. The order is affirmed.
    The relevant factor to determine whether an attempt has been made is whether the acts of Defendant have reached such a stage of advancement that they can be classified as an attempt.

    Once that attempt is found, there can be no exculpatory abandonment, it does not matter whether the abandonment was voluntary or involuntary. It’s immaterial at this point that some collateral reason prevented him from completing his intended crime.


    Discussion. There was substantial evidence that entitled the Trial Judge to find that Defendant’s acts had gone beyond the preparation stage. The most compelling evidence was the drilling activity and Defendant’s statement that the drilling was the actual commencement of his plan. Even with no direct proof of interception, which prevented his crime, this is irrelevant, although the court notes that Defendant became aware that the landlord had turned over his equipment to the police and that this could be seen as the intercept


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