Fulton Superior Court found a defendant guilty of burglary, but he appealed, explaining that the evidence didn’t support his conviction. He broke a porch door on the back of the victim’s residence and was removing the hinges of the door leading into the house when an officer arrested him under O.C.G.A. § 16-7-1, burglary.
Georgia’s Court of Appeals reviewed the case, noting the defendant’s explanation. He claimed that the trial court didn’t hear the possibility that he was entering the residence for shelter. The Court pointed out that the defendant did not offer any proof of that suggestion; however, “the presence of valuables inside the home support[ed] an inference of intent to steal.”
The defendant also contended that the trial court instructed the jury incorrectly by omitting the lesser offense of criminal trespass in the burglary charge, but the Appeals Court did not find any evidence to authorize that instruction. Because of this, the Court nullified the defendant’s complaint about his trial counsel. He felt that his attorney should have preserved an objection to the jury instruction omission, which the attorney would not have been able to do because the trial court was correct in omitting it. The defendant claimed that his counsel should have objected to the trial court’s answer to a jury question, feeling that the court’s answer shifted burden. The Appeals Court disagreed and found both the trial court’s and the attorney’s performance sufficient.
The Appeals Court agreed with the trial court and supported its ruling.