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State v. Lopez

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

April 24, 2017

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Lionel Lopez, Appellant.

         Kandiyohi County District Court File No. 34-CR-15-1045

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Edwin W. Stockmeyer, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Shane D. Baker, Kandiyohi County Attorney, Willmar, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota; Cheryl Hood Langel, Brian J. Kluk, Special Assistant Public Defenders, McCollum, Crowley, Moschet, Miller & Laak, Ltd., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Stauber, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A motel room is a structure suitable for affording shelter for human beings, and is a "building" within the meaning of Minn. Stat. §§ 609.581, .582 (2014).

          OPINION

          RODENBERG, Judge

         Appellant was convicted of theft and first-degree burglary after he entered a motel room and took a cellular phone and wallet. He was staying in a different room in the motel that evening, and argues that he did not enter a "building" without consent, and that he is therefore not guilty of first-degree burglary. Because we hold that a motel room constitutes a structure suitable for providing shelter to human beings, and is therefore a "building" under the statutory definition, we affirm.[1]

         FACTS

         On November 21, 2015, Z.D. and a coworker rented a motel room at a motel in Willmar, Minnesota. Appellant Lionel Lopez, who was also staying in the motel, entered Z.D.'s motel room (which was apparently not locked) while Z.D. was in the shower and the coworker was not present. Appellant took Z.D.'s cellular phone and wallet (which contained $42) and returned to his own motel room.

         Appellant was charged with theft and first-degree burglary in connection with this incident. He waived his right to a jury trial, and the case was tried to the court. The district court found appellant guilty of both counts, and sentenced him to serve 61 months in prison for the burglary and 365 days in jail for the theft, to be served concurrently. Appellant appeals his first-degree burglary conviction, [2] arguing that he did not enter a building without consent, because he had consent to enter the motel and Z.D.'s separate motel room is not a "building."

         ISSUE

         Does entry of a motel room without consent constitute entry of a "building" ...


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