People v. Bowen and Rouse – Case Brief
Summary of People v. Bowen and Rouse, 10 Mich. App. 1, 158 N.W.2d 794 (Mich.App. 1968).
Facts: On January 19, 1965, Bowen (D) and Rouse (D) and two female companions were admitted into the home of Matilda Gatzmeyer. The two female companions distracted Ms. Gatzmeyer while the defendants entered her bedroom without her permission. A neighbor saw the defendants’ car, became suspicious and called the police.
The defendants were arrested on the charge of attempted larceny. A witness testified that jewelry was found on the staircase where defendant Bowen had been standing. Ms. Gatzmeyer testified that the defendants removed the jewelry from her bedroom without her consent. Bowen and Rouse were convicted and appealed, contending that the court was in error for not instructing the jury that an overt act was required to find the defendants guilty of an attempt crime.
Issue: In order to be convicted of an attempt crime, must the defendant perform an overt act in furtherance of the crime?
Holding and Rule: Yes. In order to be convicted of a crime of attempt, the defendant must perform an overt act in furtherance of the crime.
There was sufficient evidence for a jury to convict on attempted larceny. However, the trial judge did not properly instruct the jury that there must be an overt act towards commission of larceny in the building. The trial judge simply instructed the jury that they could convict if they found that the defendants came to or entered Ms. Gatzmeyer’s residence with an intent to commit larceny. If the acts of the accused are unambiguous and point to the commission of the crime, then the overt act requirement of the crime of intent has been met. Intent on its own, without an overt act, is not sufficient to produce a conviction on an attempt charge.
Disposition: Reversed and remanded for a new trial.
See Garratt v. Dailey for a law school torts case brief featuring an issue involving the element of intent with regard to the intentional tort of battery.