Sometimes the black letter law passed by the legislature is unclear. The legislature can’t anticipate every possible fact scenario when they pass a law, so it lay to the courts to interpret the law and give guidance to what it means. This interpretation is called case law. When the court decides a certain meeting to the law it essentially answers a legal question. Lawyers and other courts then can rely on that ruling when they have a similar issue in their case. The following case answers the question above.
State v. Jackson, 227 P.3d 1010 (Kan. Ct. App. 2011).
This case answers the following question:
Can prior permission to enter premises be used as authorization for subsequent entrances after being told to leave?
The issue in this case is whether a boyfriend who had been given permission to enter premises in the past could use that prior permission for subsequent entrances on the premises after being told to leave. To establish a charge of criminal trespass, the State must prove that the defendant was told to leave the property by the owner or other authorized person and that the defendant intentionally, without authority, entered into or remained on the property.
In this case, Jackson was convicted of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, criminal threat, domestic battery, and criminal trespass. Jackson had previously lived with his girlfriend, Graham, for three years. On July 4, 2007, Jackson moved out of Graham’s apartment, and a law enforcement officer told him not to return. On August 13, 2007 Jackson returned to Graham’s apartment with her permission. On August 14, 2007, Jackson and Graham had a fight, and Jackson was told to leave the premises. During the following days after the argument, Jackson returned to the apartment multiple times. Jackson was arrested on Graham’s front porch on August 16, 2007. Jackson appealed his conviction of criminal trespass, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.
To establish a charge of criminal trespass, the State must prove that the defendant was told to leave the property by the owner or other authorized person and that the defendant intentionally, without authority, entered into or remained on the property. Jackson argued that after being told to leave the premises by the law enforcement officer, Graham had invited him back onto the property multiple times in August 2007. Jackson argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Jackson’s authorization to return to the property had been revoked. The court found that the authorization to be in the apartment on occasions prior to the fight on August 14, 2007 was not sufficient to establish that Jackson also had authorization to be on the premises after the argument. In addition, the court found that despite Graham’s comments at trial that “my back door was always open for [Jackson]”, a rational factfinder could find that Graham had revoked Jackson’s authority to return to her property after the fight on August 14, 2007. Further, the State presented evidence at trial from police officers who had been at the home on the day of and days following the argument. These police officers testified that after the argument, Graham appeared terrified and frightened that someone was in her home. An officer even testified that on August 16, 2007, Graham would not come to the door of her home to talk with an officer because Jackson was nearby.
The Court of Appeals of Kansas affirmed the conviction of criminal trespass. The Court of Appeals found that there was enough evidence presented to contradict Jackson’s authority to be in Graham’s house after the fight on August 14, 2007.