Sir Edward Coke (1552–1634) was appointed Chief Justice of England’s Court of Common Pleas in 1606 and had a varied judicial and political career. In his four-volume Institutes of Laws of England, he defined burglary essentially as breaking and entering a private dwelling at night with the intent to commit a crime inside (usually theft but may include violence if an occupant discovers the burglar). Although some of the details have changed over the centuries, burglary retains Coke’s classic defining features. For example, unauthorized entry into a building or structure remains salient, as does the intent to commit a crime within, which is usually theft. However, time of entry, type of entry, and site of entry, as well as other details, have broadened, depending ...

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