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State v. Mann

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division 2
129 Ariz. 24, 628 P.2d 61 (1981)


The Salvation Army regularly collected donated used clothes from its donation box, which consisted of a large walled, floored, roofed, and securely locked tin shed. Eric Owen Mann and Mary Lou Mann (defendants) were caught stealing clothes from the box. The State of Arizona (plaintiff) prosecuted the Manns for third-degree burglary, which the relevant statute defined as entry, with the intent to commit theft, into any walled, floored, and secured nonresidential structure used for storage or some other specified purpose. At trial, there was no dispute as to the box's physical characteristics or the purpose for which the box was maintained. The Manns confessed that they entered the box in order to steal clothes. The trial judge instructed the jury that, as a matter of law, the box was a structure within the meaning of the third-degree burglary statute. A jury convicted the Manns, and they appealed to the Court of Appeals of Arizona. The Manns contended that whether the box met the statutory definition of structure was a question of fact that the judge should have submitted to the jury. The Manns also contended that the donation box was abandoned and not in use and that the trial judge erred in instructing the jury on aiding and abetting a crime.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Howard, J.)

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