Friday, November 15, 2013

People v. Bowen and Rouse case brief

People v. Bowen and Rouse case brief summary
158 N.W.2d 794 (1968)

Defendants appealed their convictions in the Recorder's Court for the City of Detroit (Michigan) for attempted larceny in a building.

Defendants went to their victim's home and were admitted entrance by the victim. Suspecting burglary, a neighbor summoned police. The police found rooms in disarray and found defendants with the victim's jewelry nearby. Defendants were charged with and convicted of attempted larceny.


  • In reversing the convictions, the court determined that the trial court had improperly instructed the jury by omitting the overt act element and charging that defendants could be found guilty if the jury determined they entered the home intending to commit larceny. 
  • The mere entry of the home was not a sufficient overt act in this instance because the victim herself admitted them and defendants had been rightfully in the house on prior occasions to perform repair work. 
  • Because the charge omitted a legally essential element, it was erroneous and misleading and thus reversible error.


Defendants' convictions were reversed as the trial court committed error in charging the jury by failing to instruct that it must find defendants committed an overt act in order to find them guilty of attempted larceny.

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