Court Of Appeals Finds Exception To Residential Burglary Statute Where The Accused Was Found in the Basement of a Deli on the Ground Floor of an Apartment Building

In a significant decision regarding the scope of the residential burglary statute, the Court of Appeals, by a 6-1 vote, reduced the conviction of OAD client, Ronel Joseph, from second degree burglary to third degree burglary.  Mr. Joseph was arrested in the basement of a deli that was on the street level floor of an apartment building.  Under normal rules, the burglary of any premises that is attached to a dwelling, e.g., the office of a hotel, or the garage of an apartment building, is considered second degree burglary.  While the Court had previously articulated a possible exception, where "the burglar neither comes nor readily can come near to anyone's living quarters," that exception had never before been applied by any appellate court in the state.  Thus, the Court's recognition and application of the exception in Mr. Joseph's case is ground-breaking and provides an avenue for relief in similar cases going forward.  Mr. Joseph is represented by Eunice C. Lee.  To read the decision, click here.