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State v. Pitts

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-14-2013
Case #: A148787
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Duncan, .J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A148787.pdf

Criminal Law: A burglary conviction can be based on disobeying a peace officer's order only if the original order, the unlawful entry, and the intent to refuse to obey that order all take place as part of a single continuous criminal episode.

Defendant appealed the trial court's denial of his motion for acquittal of first-degree burglary under ORS 164.225 for entering a dwelling after a peace officer ordered Defendant to "stop."  Two police officers were investigating thefts at an apartment complex when one of the officers spotted Defendant. As Defendant began climbing a fence, an officer yelled for Defendant to "stop," but Defendant fled into a neighboring house. Defendant was subsequently arrested and charged with first-degree burglary.  At trial, Defendant moved for acquittal, arguing that the State had not proved his requisite intent to commit a crime. Defendant's theory was that, because he completed the crime of interfering with a peace officer when he jumped the fence, this crime was completed before he entered the residence. The trial court denied the motion for acquittal because there was a "continuation of his attempt to get away." On appeal, Defendant argued that fleeing from police could not be an ongoing crime, as it would mean that a defendant could commit the offense of fleeing for years until his capture; meaning that every trespass during that time-frame would become a burglary.  The State argued that Defendant interfered with a peace officer with every step he took. The Court of Appeals held that a burglary conviction can be based on disobeying a police officer's order only if the order, unlawful entry, and intent to refuse to obey that order all take place as part of a single, continuous criminal episode. Defendant's entire episode took approximately two minutes and a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that disobeying the officer's order and entering the house were part of a continuous episode. Affirmed.