The Law: Importance of Interpretation

As responsible citizens, we are not only the caretakers of our personal property (home, cars, wallets, handbags, etc), but we are also in charge of the safe keeping at our workplaces and our communities. 

It is recommended that we make sure doors are properly locked and visitors are supervised at home in the car and at work. 

Managers should provide policies for after-hour visits and supervision of environmental and delivery personnel and deliveries. 



Homeowner, Ms. Bling, contracted handyman, Mr. Isee to paint. He showed up. Ms Bling then went to drink at pool with friends. She returned and saw Mr. Isee reaching to touch unlocked valuables. She called the police, who arrested him and the State prosecutor charged Mr. Isee with burglary. 

A) Question Of The Law

1) Is an observed “Reach” for an object burglary or theft?

2) What was the specific action of Mr. Isee?

3) Did the homeowner make the correct conclusion?

4) Did she know what he was thinking?

5) Did she explain her visitation policies to Mr. Isee?

6) What are Federal and state statutes?

7) Was this a felony?



1) Interpretation of The Applicable Laws:

Federal: Burglary, whether violent or non-violent is a felony, more severe, if drugs are involved.

Florida: Burglary is the unauthorized entry or visit after time on premises expires, except in a public building or if invited.

Theft: process to take is initiated or carried out, even for temporary use or emergency with or without accomplice

2) Authorities:

Officer of The Law: Protect and investigate disputes intelligibly to determine when to arrest and make charges.


3) Other Players

Defendant: Remain calm, obtain legal counsel and confront accuser

Defense Attorney: Assess charges, depose witness(es), trial by jury

Court: Make final decision based on accomplices, and accessories before, during and after the event. If the defendant is convicted, take away his/her right(s), revoke licenses. If the verdict is successfully appealed, erase record. If the conviction is a federal one, pardon may be needed by State Governor or the President.

C) Analysis of Just Cause:

1) Reasonable Suspicion/ Location

The owner has the responsibility of becoming reasonably suspicious, before the act. Ms. Bling home was a “High risk” area. She neither secured her valuables before Mr. Isee’s visit nor did she supervise her property or the departure time of Mr. Isee. Ms Bling was partying!

The homeowner was not absolutely sure of Mr. Isee and did not ask him any questions.

2) Authorities

The police Officer did not investigate, he arrested Mr. Isee on “hear-say”


3) Accomplice

The homeowner was an accomplice, leaving her valuables and home unattended. She invited Mr. Isee in without setting time limits or providing supervision.

4) Outcome

Mr. Isee was not guilty of any misdemeanors, even if there were fingerprints. Ms. Bling did not report anything missing and a reach for an object is not conclusive evidence.


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