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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 13, 2016 12:02 PM
From: Representative Martina A. White
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship: WHITE--Home Invasion Burglary
Citizens who are victims of a home burglary often express the trauma that comes from knowing that their personal space and security has been violated. However violated people feel knowing that a stranger has entered their home while they were gone, the experience pales in comparison to the terror that they experience when a burglar enters while they are present.

In the past, the typical burglar would flee if he discovered the owner was present. Today, however, hardly a week goes by without a story on the news describing a new class of burglars who purposely invade a home, frequently while armed, knowing that the occupants are present. Often they terrorizes the families with threats or commit a crime of violence against them. This is particularly abhorrent when the owner is an elderly person.
Though burglary of an occupied structure is already a first degree felony, a person engaged in this form of terrorism is treated no differently under our law than the person who enters and immediately flees once it becomes apparent someone is home.

I believe the law should differentiate between the two.

Accordingly, I plan to introduce legislation which would amend the burglary statute to provide for the crime of Home Invasion Burglary and a mandatory sentence of 5 years for anyone who burglarizes a place designed for overnight accommodation while someone is present and is armed with a deadly weapon or commits a crime such as assault, terroristic threat, rape or other form of violence. My bill will enhance the sentence to a 10 year mandatory minimum if the victim is 62 or older or for a second offense.

Though we often hear that mandatory minimum sentences interfere with the discretion of the court, there are some crimes for which the very act, regardless of the offender’s circumstances, demands a significant term in prison.

I hope you will join me as a cosponsor.

Introduced as HB2018