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People v. Staples

California Court of Appeal
6 Cal. App. 3d 61 (1970)


Facts

While his wife was away from home, Staples (defendant) rented a second-floor office that he knew was located directly above a bank vault. While the landlord was preparing the office prior to commencement of the lease, Staples brought in drilling tools, gas tanks, and a blow torch. On a day when he knew the building was empty, Staples drilled holes in the floor over the vault, but stopped before the holes went through the floor. Although he made several more visits to the office, Staples did not finish drilling the holes. Eventually the landlord found Staples’ tools and informed the police, who arrested Staples. After being read his constitutional rights, Staples admitted drilling the holes but said that he had begun to have doubts about proceeding with his plan to rob the bank and realized it was absurd after his wife returned home. Staples was charged with attempted burglary. The trial court ruled that the defense of abandonment did not apply because Staples had dropped his plans involuntarily when he learned that the landlord had found his tools and notified the police. Staples was convicted and appealed to the California Court of Appeal.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Reppy, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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