March 28, 2019
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
(CMD-8360-17), (Hon. Anthony C. Epstein, Trial Judge)
Nicholas Q. Elton, Washington, 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
a 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 courts 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 S.E. in another
part of Hopkins Apartments.
Another 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
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 Mothers 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 ...