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People v. Sparks

Supreme Court of California
28 Cal. 4th 71, 47 P.2d 289 (2002)


Sparks (defendant) called upon a single-family home, owned by Ana I., claiming he was selling magazine subscriptions. Although Ana expressed her disinterest in purchasing any subscriptions, Sparks asked if he could enter Ana’s house. While sitting in Ana’s dining room, Sparks continued to try and sell subscriptions and also began to ask questions about Ana’s personal life. Ana requested that Sparks leave, because she needed to go pick up her niece. When Ana went to her bedroom to retrieve shoes, Sparks followed her into the room. Sparks shoved Ana face down on the bed, covered her head with a pillow, and raped her. After the incident, Ana escaped through the bedroom window, informed a police officer of the attack, and submitted to a medical exam. The trial court instructed the jury that Sparks committed a burglary in violation of California Penal Code § 459 if he entered any room within a building with the intent to commit rape, a felony. Sparks was convicted for first-degree burglary and forcible rape. Sparks appealed on the ground that entry into an unsecured bedroom in a single-family dwelling was insufficient to satisfy the entry-with-felonious-intent requirement for burglary. The court of appeals agreed with Sparks and reversed the burglary conviction on the ground that the jury instruction was erroneous. The state appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (George, C.J.)

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