these penalties to a 15-year prison term simply by alleging that the defendants entered a certain room with intent to commit the above misdemeanors.
Generally, entry with intent to commit a misdemeanor, such as petit larceny, is sufficient to support a charge of Housebreaking. But the nature of these offenses under the Federal Communications Act, and the unusual character of the punishments specified by Congress, suggests that this general rule should not apply to these offenses.
It is true, of course, that the wording of the Housebreaking statute -- 'Whoever shall * * * enter * * * any * * * room * * * with intent * * * to commit any criminal offense * * *' -- would cover the particular entry here at issue. But words must always be construed reasonably, in conformity with their purpose. The Housebreaking statute was worded broadly
in order to make unnecessary the distinctions in common-law Burglary between night and day, between breaking and non-breaking, and between dwellings and non-dwellings, and at the same time provide an offense which is designed to punish those who violate the sanctity of any confined place. The nature of the criminal offense which the person who enters intends to commit must therefore be reasonably related to the sanctity of the place entered -- usually a crime of violence against persons or a crime involving the taking or destruction of property.
The Government argues that 'any criminal offense' means 'any criminal offense,' and there is no need for further consideration. By this reasoning, however, entry of any room with an intent, for instance, to violate the anti-trust laws or the regulations of the Securities & Exchange Commission could subject the individual to prosecution for Housebreaking. Such a result appears completely out of line with the reasonable intent of Congress. This Court does not decide exactly how far the words 'any criminal offense' in the Housebreaking statute might reasonably be construed to reach in some other situation, but this Court does decide that they cannot reach an entry simply because the individual at the moment of entry intended to violate the above provisions of the Federal Communications Act.
The Government has argued that the alleged violations of the Federal Communications Act are analogous to the common law crime of Eavesdropping, a crime against the person's right of privacy. This argument would be persuasive if the provisions of the Communications Act for the alleged violation of which defendants have been indicted were truly provisions designed to preserve inviolate the right of privacy. But the true purpose of these provisions is the regulation of the radio industry by means of licenses granted in the interest of efficiency, order, and regulated competition. The purpose was thus to protect the airwaves in the public interest, not to preserve a private right of privacy. The indictment alleges violations of certain licensing requirements, and Housebreaking is not committed by an entry with intent to commit violations of such requirements.
4. The motion (filed October 24, 1963) for inspection and copying of certain alleged tape recordings made by the Government will be denied in view of the Government's uncontradicted statement that none of the tapes contains any conversation in which any of the defendants participated, and in view of the Government's stipulation that it will not use any of the tapes in its case-in-chief. Any possible inspection of the tapes in advance of the possible use of such tapes by the Government in rebuttal will await a ruling by the court which tries this case in the event that the issue arises.
It is therefore by the Court this 15th day of January, 1964, ORDERED That the motion of defendants to dismiss count one of the indictment shall be and the same is hereby granted, and it is
FURTHER ORDERED That all remaining motions of defendant considered above shall be and the same hereby are denied.