Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Indiana Burglary Includes Fenced Area, 7th Cir. Rules

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Can justice be blind when there is an elephant in the room?

It hardly seems possible in a case from Indiana, where an appeals court affirmed a burglary conviction as a "violent felony." An Indiana burglary includes "outdoor, fenced in areas," the court said in United States of America v. Perry, resulting in a sentence enhancement.

Jason Perry complained because, coupled with firearms violations, he got 360 months for his crimes. The elephant in the room, however, was the man had just murdered his ex-girlfriend.

State Court

Perry, a thrice-convicted felon, bought a shotgun and shells in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922 for being a felon in possession. After arguing with Jessica Tice about custody of their son, Perry shot her to death in a parking lot in front of the 13 year old.

He was convicted of murder in state court and sentenced to 85 years in prison, with fifteen years suspended to probation. In federal court, he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of the firearm and ammunition.

At sentencing, a trial judge imposed the enhanced sentence based on the priors. Perry appealed, arguing that Indiana's definition of a general burglary was too broad.

Federal Court

In a Florida case, Perry said, the Supreme Court ruled that burglary could only occur inside "a building or enclosed space." But Judge Gary Feinerman, writing for the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, said Indiana's burglary statute included a wholly enclosed area.

"Perry brings no Indiana case to our attention, and we are aware of none, where, as in Florida, a defendant was convicted of burglary for entering a fenced area that was not completely enclosed," Feinerman said.

The court affirmed, concluding that Indiana's law was consistent with the definition of burglary under the Armed Career Criminal Act , 18 U.S.C. § 924(e).

Related Resources:

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard