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People v. Luke (Derek)

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Term, First Department
37 Misc. 3d 73 (2012)


Facts

Manhattan’s Taft Houses (the development) were a public housing development comprised of nine similar brown buildings. The buildings had no-trespassing signs, and access was by key or intercom. During a routine patrol at the development, two police officers noticed Luke (defendant) entering one of the buildings and loitering on multiple floors. When the officers eventually questioned Luke about his presence, Luke claimed he was there to visit a longtime family friend, Laurie Holder. Luke, who had not visited Holder recently, claimed that he was struggling to locate Holder’s apartment, but was unable to give the officers Holder’s name, address, or apartment number. The officers arrested Luke for trespass. Luke admitted that he entered the building as someone else exited. At trial, Holder confirmed that she and Luke were scheduled to meet and explained that she lived in one of the development’s other buildings. Holder also noted that differentiating between the buildings in the dark would be a difficult task for someone unfamiliar with the area. Despite this testimony, the trial court convicted Luke of criminal trespass in the third degree. Luke appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hunter, Jr., J.)

Dissent (Shulman, J.)

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