State Supreme Court to review breaking-and-entering case

Court Judge Gavel

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Supreme Court will review the case of a man convicted of breaking-and-entering for placing his hand behind a window screen.

The high court agreed to hear Anthony Holt’s case in October, The Albuquerque Journal reports.

Holt was convicted of breaking and entering in 2013 but argued the law was ambiguous. He said putting his hands between a screen and a window wasn’t the same as actually entering a home’s interior.

But the state Court of Appeals of Appeals upheld the conviction. The court said the law was clear enough, saying putting his hands behind the screen amounted to intruding inside the home.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Roderick Kennedy said the inside of a home begins behind the glass window, not the screen. He said Holt did not actually “enter” the home and instead should have been charged with attempted breaking and entering, a misdemeanor and not subject to prison time like Holt’s fourth-degree felony conviction.

“They (judges) can change their minds if they want to. As long as he” doesn’t come back here, said Carolyn Stamper, the owner of the window screen in question.

Stamper was in her Las Cruces home in December 2011 when she heard a knock on her living room door. When she opened her curtain she saw Holt trying to pry off the screen. She says he said “oh, I’m sorry,” and then fled.

Holt is now living in Albuquerque and is on probation supervised by the New Mexico Department of Corrections.

Holt’s appeal is not unheard of. Arizona clarified its breaking-and-entering law after a defendant tried to argue they hadn’t actually entered a home by setting the “exterior boundaries” of a structure as the line between outside and inside.

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