March 28, 2019
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
(CMD-8360-17) (Hon. Anthony C. Epstein, Trial Judge)
Nicholas Q. Elton for appellant.
Carroll, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Jessie
K. Liu, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman and
Kamilah O. House, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on
the brief, for appellee.
Beckwith and McLeese, Associate Judges, and Ruiz, Senior
BECKWITH, ASSOCIATE JUDGE
bench trial, appellant Deangelo Foster was found guilty of
one count of unlawful entry stemming from his presence on the
grounds of a District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA)
property he had been barred from two days earlier. On appeal,
he argues that he could not be found guilty of unlawful entry
because the government failed to establish that he was on the
property without authority. Specifically, Mr. Foster contends
that he lived in-and thus was authorized to be at-the DCHA
apartment complex from which he was barred, and he contests
the trial court's conclusion that he could be barred from
a part of the complex that security officers viewed as
separate from the part where he resided. We agree with Mr.
Foster and reverse his conviction.
to the evidence at trial, Hopkins Apartments was a DCHA
housing development that encompassed six buildings in the
area roughly bounded by 10th and 15th Streets and I and M
Streets in Southeast D.C. Charles Roberts, a special police
officer who provided security at DCHA housing developments,
was working on patrol at Hopkins Apartments when he
encountered Deangelo Foster near an apartment building at
1000 12th Street SE. After a brief interaction, Officer
Roberts issued Mr. Foster a barring notice pursuant to the
regulation governing the public housing barring policy.
See 14 DCMR § 9600 (2005). The barring notice
stated that Mr. Foster was not permitted to be on the
property described as "Hopkins I," which included
1000 12th Street-where the encounter occurred-as well as two
other buildings at 1121 and 1131 K Street SE. At the time,
Mr. Foster lived at 1025 13th Street SE in another part of
special police officer, Anthony Glasgow, testified that he
was working at a different DCHA development two days later
when he received a call that Mr. Foster was on the grounds of
the apartment building at 1131 K Street SE. Officer Glasgow
and other officers responded to the area, saw Mr. Foster
standing with a group of other people "inside the gates
of 1131 K Street," and arrested him for unlawfully
entering the property in violation of the previous barring
own testimony, Mr. Foster stated that at the time the police
arrested him, he was on his way to deliver a Mother's Day
gift at the apartment he shared with his mother, Monica
Wheeler. Ms. Wheeler herself testified that there were
multiple buildings in the Hopkins complex, and that to get to
her apartment building, "[y]ou can cut through the
buildings, or you can come the long way, which is way down
from Pennsylvania Avenue[.]" She also identified the
lease for her apartment at 1025 13th Street SE and noted that
it listed "Deangelo Foster" as a member of her
household. The lease was admitted into evidence.
trial court found Mr. Foster guilty of unlawful entry after
determining that the government had proven that he was
lawfully barred from 1131 K Street when he was found on that
property two days after receiving the barring notice. In
reaching that conclusion, the court credited the testimony of
Officers Roberts and Glasgow and Ms. Wheeler, including Ms.
Wheeler's testimony about the lease.
appeal, Mr. Foster argues that the record contains
insufficient evidence to show that Hopkins Apartments
consisted of more than one legally distinct DCHA property,
especially when considering the lease that was admitted into
evidence during his mother's testimony. Because a
resident of Hopkins Apartments had authority to be on the
entire property, Mr. Foster contends, the barring notice was
invalid under the ...