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§ 943.10, Burglary – Sufficiency of Evidence – Fingerprint Evidence

State v. Jeffrey Lorenzo Searcy, 2006 WI App 8
For Searcy: Joseph L. Sommers


¶23      Searcy claims the only evidence linking him to the Hoffman burglary was his fingerprint on the window screen in the Hoffmans’ bedroom. He argues that the mere presence of his fingerprint, standing alone, is insufficient to connect him to the burglary. Because there is other evidence supporting Searcy’s conviction, we need not decide whether fingerprint evidence, standing alone, is sufficient to sustain a burglary conviction. See State v. Scott, 2000 WI App 51, ¶16, 234 Wis. 2d 129, 608 N.W.2d 753 (refusing to address defendant’s argument that fingerprint evidence standing alone was insufficient to survive a motion to dismiss because the State presented other evidence as well).…

¶25      … The jury could have reasonably concluded from the presence of the fingerprint evidence when combined with the damage to the doors and window screen and the fact that the window screen could only be opened from the inside that Searcy had burglarized the Hoffman home.


¶29   From this evidence the jury could have reasonably come to the conclusion that Searcy was responsible for the DuRocher burglary. The stolen items were found in a home where he was staying only ten days after the burglary occurred. Additionally, no one claimed ownership of the items and the items were found tied up in a pillowcase and hidden in a closet. The jury could have reasonably drawn the inference that Searcy had stolen the items and tried to conceal them in his cousin’s closet.¶30   Finally, the jury could have relied on the similarities between the two burglaries to convict Searcy. In both cases, the front door had apparently been kicked in—there was damage to the doors and their frames, and footprints on the doors themselves. Further, in both burglaries, pillowcases were taken off of beds, most likely to transport stolen property. From the similarities, the jury could have concluded that the same person committed both burglaries and the burglar’s modus operandi was, in part, to kick in the door and place stolen items in a pillowcase from the residence. Thus, the consistencies between both burglaries bolster our conclusion that the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to convict Searcy of both the Hoffman and DuRocher burglaries.


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