The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that a dwelling must be inhabited to provide a burglary conviction for a break-in. In the case, a woman broke into a farmhouse used for storage. No person had lived in the farmhouse for years prior to the break-in. The court ruled that such an uninhabited structure could not support a burglary conviction. This ruling requires that a person must have lived or subjectively intended to live in the dwelling for human habitation at the time of the break-in to consider the break-in a burglary. In his opinion, Justice Biles explained this requirement:
We agree with the [defendant’s] panel. Absent proof the place burgled was used as a human habitation, home, or residence, the statute’s plain language requires a showing of proof that, someone had a present, subjective intent at the time of the crime to use the place burgled for such a purpose. And based on that, the sufficiency question in [the defendant]’s case turns on whether the evidence at trial, viewed in the light most favorable to the State, was sufficient for “a rational fact-finder” to find that the farmhouse was”intended for use” as a human habitation, home, or residence when the crime occurred.
This ruling will limit future burglary convictions in Kansas, as some break-ins will no longer be classified as break-ins.