Cladd v. State
398 So.2d 442 (1981)

  • Cladd and his wife had separated. There was no legal agreement of separation or divorce, and there was no restraining order but she had moved out and gotten her own apartment.
  • Cladd broke into his wife’s apartment to smack her around. He was arrested and charged with burglary.
  • The Trial Court dismissed the charges. The prosecutor appealed.
    • Cladd argued that even if his wife did not concede to his entry, he was licensed to enter her apartment at will as a matter of law.
      • To be guilty of burglary, you must enter the property of another without permission with the purpose of committing a crime (in this case assault).
  • The Appellate Court reversed. Cladd appealed.
    • The Appellate Court found that although each spouse may have the legal right to the other’s company, this does not include the right to break and enter the other’s apartment with intent to commit an offense therein.
  • The Florida Supreme Court affirmed and upheld the charge.
    • The Florida Supreme Court found that Cladd’s wife was the sole possessor of the premises and Cladd had no right to enter without her permission.
  • In a dissent, it was argued that the law is very clear that a spouse has a right to be with their spouse (aka the right of consortium). The dissent argues that exemptions to this right should be made by the legislature, not the courts.
    • Cladd would still be guilty of assault, he just argued that he wasn’t guilty of illegally entering his wife’s apartment.
  • In another dissent it was argued that the courts shouldn’t get involved in domestic disputes.
    • See Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479 (1965)).