Closing Statements in Burglary Trial

burglarBy Katie Wu

After two and a half hours of arguments between the defense and prosecution counsel in Judge Samuel T. McAdams’ courtroom, the jury was left to deliberate and come to a decision regarding defendant Brian Freeland’s innocence.

Mr. Freeland is charged with second degree burglary and intent to steal from a Woodland storage unit, in violation of section 459 of the California Penal Code, between March 30 and April 9 of 2013. The defendant allegedly entered storage unit 1139 through an opening in his 1138 storage unit, possibly on more than one occasion, attempted to commit theft and committed theft, and left with a pill bottle from the 1139 unit which was found in his 1138 unit. Freeland pleads not guilty.

Second degree burglary is defined as entering a building, where people do not reside, through penetrating outer boundaries, with the intent to commit a theft or any felony. Freeland is guilty of intent to steal when there is enough evidence that supports his concealing or aiding in concealment of stolen property.

While his defense lawyer J. Tony and Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes delivered concluding remarks about how applicable these provisions are to the defendant, Freeland sat quietly with a solemn and fixed stare toward a corner of the room, while his pregnant wife sat intently listening, away from the counsel.

Deputy DA Hasapes first attempted to convince the jury why his evidence of Freeland’s build, his stature and strong dexterity, is enough to declare him guilty of the two criminal charges.

His argument highlighted the defendant’s capability to calculate the timing for robbery. The defendant decided to rob the victim within the timeframe of March 28 and April 9, 2013. The reason why this timeframe was so important was because this was about the time the defendant and his wife were packing and moving to a new unit.

Thus, DDA Hasapes believed that the activities of packing and moving created convenience for stealing, as well.

Mr. Hasapes argued that, since the defendant’s unit 1138 and victim’s unit 1139 were close to each other, this created an easy point of access to observe the neighbors’ habitual acts and pinpoint the perfect moment to steal when nobody was around.

He also noted the defendant’s ability to create a diversion to distract the victim as to what his intentions were. Mr. Hasapes said the defendant offered to help fix the wide gap within the storage for the victim when his main intentions were to keep it open for stealing. Ultimately, his concluding evidence was that the cleanup of the crime scene demonstrated the defendant’s desire to execute a perfect crime.

Although the victims’ possessions were stolen, no fingerprints or DNA of the defendants were ever discovered. Though the crime scene was clean, DDA Hasapes stated that the defendant’s hiding of the victim’s pill bottle in his unit ultimately elevated suspicion of his actions and doubt of his innocence.

Mr. Rodriguez, the acquaintance of the defendant and plausible suspect in the stealing, demonstrated that his relations and presence at the storage unit with Freeland also makes the defendant, at the least, an associate of the crime.

While  Mr. Hasapes called for the defendant’s conviction, Mr. Tony spoke to the defendant’s innocence. Insufficient evidence found at the crime scene and many unaccounted factors of the victim’s relations with other neighbors suggests that the defendant may not have committed any crime.

Despite the victim’s belief that the storage facility is highly secured, the security camera that was built inside the unit could not identify faces clearly in the dark. Consequently, Mr. Toney argued, as the burglary took place at night, the camera’s inability to capture a clear picture of the suspect’s face indicated lack of evidence and an unfair accusation of Freeland.

Moreover, one thing that Mr. Tony wanted to emphasize was that the victim shared the storage unit with, not just her niece, but another neighbor of hers, whose name she can’t remember. In other words, the defense attorney suggested that somebody else has the potential of stealing from the victim and the defendant’s moving schedule just so happens to have coincided perfectly with the crime.

Ultimately, he argued, Freeland does not fit the profile of one guilty of assisting or encouraging a crime. He stated that his client’s knowledge of the crime does not qualify him as an assistant to the burglary.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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14 Comments

  1. Themis

    It sounds like the DA has come up with quite a story for “the perfect crime”. The lack of evidence can just as easily be due to the fact the accused didn’t commit the crime. It’s easier to believe someone sharing storage unit took something out of it that didn’t belong to them.

  2. perrymason

    Did the jury reach a verdict? It did not sound like a complicated case. There have been past cases where the trial is described but then now information on the verdict. I am always curious about the outcome in these cases.

  3. Highbeam

    SODA, i have asked and constantly ask the authors the clarifying questions – typos are the least of what I do (and are the things i overlook the most!). Mostly i am dealing with grammar and syntax, and spelling and punctuation,as well as doing my best to make sure there is not an incorrect legal statement (such as using robbery for burglary). I try to maintain the writer’s style, while streamlining awkward, bulky and unclear wording.

    I agree that the court articles, especially, would benefit from my being able to see them before they are posted, and to receive answers to my questions (many times the interns are back in the courtroom, unavailable to clarify, while I am trying to decipher the facts and events of a case, the “cast of characters,” the spellings of their names, the exact charges, etc., without having been in the court…sometimes I have driven to Woodland to access the database myself, esp to get the charges right).

    I will suggest that we treat the court watch articles separately from the others, although sometimes they need to be posted immediately, and it could certainly help if another proofreader read them first.

    1. Silvia

      Highbeam, thank you so much for your work. I know you do more than just catch typos; you constantly ask for clarification, you make sure the information is accurate and factual, and you double check all names. Your work is appreciated.

  4. Highbeam

    you are correct, DP, Katie has just started…and, too, we are still a volunteer operation, and I do what proofreading that I can…the drafts are posted before i have access to them, and I try to get to them early in the morning, before you are reading them, but I sometimes am not able…please refresh your page as you are reading, because I could be working on an article while you are reading

    1. SODA

      We readers very much appreciate you Highbeam, however these court articles need more of an editor than one like you who is very good at catching typos. I have recommended in the past that the interns’ articles be read by someone willing to ask the author clarifying questions before the article is printed. The court watch articles could be posted a few hrs to a day later to allow for the editing.
      I think this extra step would greatly improve the readability and be a gift to our budding journalists. Surely someone in town (UCD English Dept someone?) would be willing. Please discuss this recommendation at an upcoming Ed Advisory Board Mtg.

        1. David Greenwald

          Highbeam spends a lot of time editing these articles, last week she even directed some of the interns to look up key facts. We discussed this at the Editorial Board meeting last night, but at this time see no reason to change things.

  5. theotherside

    Man that was hard read, may I suggest some editing and proof reading, if this is going to be a legitimate media site.

    Also, huge pet peeve of mine…burglary and robbery are not interchangeable terms. One is entering a dwelling with the intent of committing a theft or any felony. The other is the taking of property from a person by means of force or fear. It is a common mistake by the media, but shows lack of knowledge and is quite unprofessional if you are a reporter whose role it is to inform.

    theotherside is here to shake it up and insert some common sense into these slanted discussions….

    1. Davis Progressive

      tos: these articles tend to be written by interns, most of them undergraduates. this is the first time i’ve seen the name katie wu, which means this is probably her first article. i wouldn’t judge this site by this article.

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