Saturday, July 7, 2007

My Father's Physician

My father's doctor was recently arrested, charged with trespassing and burglary.  It doesn't add up.  Burglary is much better defined in the Minnesota criminal code (under which Dr. Heine is presumably charged) than the Iowa code.  The Minnesota code defines burglary as:

 Subd. 3. Burglary in the third degree; Whoever enters a building without consent and with intent to steal or commit any felony or gross misdemeanor while in the building, or enters a building without consent and steals or commits a felony or gross misdemeanor while in the building, either directly or as an accomplice, commits burglary in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.


The Iowa code requires theft in order to be convicted of burglary.  Theft is defined by degree based on the value of the property stolen.  The Minnesota statute does not make that fine point--requiring only the taking of property that doesn't belong to the accused.  But--can the taking of something which is essentially worthless be stealing?  Without a set definition in the statute, the law relies on the standard dictionary definition of the word.  Websters is the dictionary of choice for most jurisdictions and Websters defines steal as: "To take (the property of another) without right or permission."

Are items in a "lost and found" box anyone's "property?"  They certainly have no intrinsic value. 

In order to find the doctor guilty, the jurors will have to find that the doctor not only factually did everything the prosecution said he did, but that those actions fit the law as it is written.  I believe the law was written to cover property of value.  Thus, if the doctor had taken audio-visual equipment, band instruments, computers, etc., he could correctly be charged with burglary.  But taking worthless pieces of fabric unclaimed as property by any individual is stretching the law in order to accuse him of a more serious crime than that which was allegedly factually committed.  I suspect that's because of the suspected sexual motive for the talking--which is not covered by the statute, I note. 

All of this is a railroad in an attempt to deprive the accused of his professional standing in the community.

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