Third District Appellate Court reverses burglary conviction.

In this case, the defendant was accused of taking items from a Walmart. The State charged him with burglary and secured a conviction in front of the jury using the “limited authority doctrine”. Using this argument, the State argued that there was an unlawful entry (an essential element of burglary) because, had the store known of the defendant’s intent to steal, the defendant wouldn’t have been granted authority to enter.

The appellate court reversed, finding that this theory was foreclosed by State Supreme Court precedent and that such an interpretation of the burglary statute would completely eviscerate the retail theft statute.

The appellate court also gently chastised the trial court for banning juror notetaking during the trial, briefly pointing out that this trial court policy is contravened by statute.

The case is People v. Darren Johnson.

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