Suspect in burglary of Jobs' house gets new lawyer, plea date

After brief court appearance, Kariem McFarlin sees his plea postponed until Sept. 19

Kariem McFarlin, who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly burglarizing the Palo Alto home of the late Steve Jobs and making off with a cache of computers, iPads, Tiffany bracelets, and a bottle of Cristal champagne, will wait another month before entering his plea.

McFarlin, 35, was arrested on Aug. 2 after Palo Alto police and investigators from the regional Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) Task Force raided his Alameda apartment and allegedly found many of the items that were stolen on the night of July 17 from the Waverley Street home of the iconic Apple co-founder. According to a report from REACT, McFarlin subsequently admitted to having committed the burglary and had even penned a letter of apology to Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs.

McFarlin was scheduled to enter a plea Monday morning in Palo Alto. But his newly hired attorney, San Jose-based James Kellenberger, and prosecutors jointly requested that the plea be continued until a later date. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thang Nguyen Barrett scheduled the plea for Sept. 19.

In his first court appearance since the burglary became publicized, triggering national news headlines, McFarlin looked calm and composed as he awaited the proceedings. Wearing handcuffs and dark green, jail-issued baggy shirt and pants, he conferred with Kellenberger for several minutes and then agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial.

McFarlin was previously represented by the county's Office of the Public Defender. Kellenberger, a former Santa Clara County prosecutor, said he was "privately retained" by McFarlin's family. He then indicated in a brief but tense chat with news reporters that he would not be speaking to the media about his client's case, saying that his "ethical responsibility" is to his client, "not to the public or the press."

The burglary is, in many respects, much like dozens of others that have hit Palo Alto this year, prompting police to launch a public campaign to educate residents on ways to prevent burglaries and to devote more resources to ending this trend. But because of Jobs' legendary status, the case has triggered nationwide interest and has dominated headlines far beyond Palo Alto.

According to a report from REACT, McFarlin said he was not aware that he was in Jobs' home at the time he was breaking into the residence, which was undergoing renovation. He allegedly realized whose home he was in only after finding a letter addressed to Jobs. That did not stop him, however, from reportedly making off with a hefty haul of items, including iMacs, iPods and a 64GB iPad -- and the letter.

McFarlin had also allegedly given away two other iPads that he stole from the Jobs residence, one to his daughter and another to his friend, Kenneth Kahn, also known as "Kenny the Clown." Both recipients had told investigators that they didn't know the iPads were stolen. Neither McFarlin's daughter nor Kahn -- an Alameda-based clown who bills himself on his Facebook page as the "Rocky Balboa of the clown world" -- was charged with anything.

McFarlin, meanwhile, faces up to seven years and eight months in prison if found guilty of burglary and selling of stolen property.

Police are also investigating other burglaries that they believe McFarlin was involved in. According to the REACT report, McFarlin had told investigators that he had stolen items from four or five homes in San Francisco over the past year and a half. Police had located several items from those burglaries, including a stolen handgun and a bar of silver, according to the report.

Related article:

Tiffany necklace, iPads reported stolen from Steve Jobs' home


Like this comment
Posted by Glenn C.
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

This McFarlin suspect sounds like a real professional to me, and I doubt his chosen career path will veer off track once he gets out of prison. He notices that the house belonged to Steve Jobs but he doesn't hesitate to make a big haul. We really need to send a strong message to criminals who break into homes and worse. I hope McFarlin gets the full 7 yrs 8 months.

Like this comment
Posted by Traveler
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm

For better or worse, this was an international story. I read about it in the Aug 14 Int'l Herald Tribune in Europe.

Like this comment
Posted by willard
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm

will judge nguyen be lenient on him like she was josewph ciampi? he's black and did not get in altercation., watch how HE wioll get convicted. white supremacy is not over yet.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

how does this have anything to do with Joseph Ciampi who was tasered by the police who tricked him to get out of his van.

Like this comment
Posted by Atari
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I still say he's just playing dumb. I bet this guy has a huge check waiting for him at Samsung.
Samsung payed him to toy with Job's family. Samsung copied the iphone and the ipad.
Now they want to see what other secrets may have been hidden in Steve's home.

Like this comment
Posted by CP
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

If he's already confessed, why isn't this an open and shut case? Why does he need a new lawyer? Any legal experts out there who can let us know why the change?

Like this comment
Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm

CP, I would imagine that a high profile case such as this one would attract more than its share of defense attorneys wishing to further their exposure and career. On the legal side, even a person who has confessed, assuming that the statement given is admissible, is entitled to due process. A defense attorney represents their client to not only insure due process, but also to argue a reasonable sentence if there is a conviction. There are many layers and aspects of the process that goes beyond how prosecutable the case might be. In this case, like in all criminal prosecutions, I hope that justice is served in a fair, appropriate manner.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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