An Outline of Criminal Law

Yin Huang May 1, 2010

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Contents
1 The 1.1 1.2 1.3 2 The 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 3 The 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Nature of Punishment Kansas v. Hendricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ewing v. California . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Apprendi v. New Jersey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Actus Reus Proctor v. State . . . . . . . Jones v. United States . . . United States v. Maldonado People v. Newton . . . . . . Martin v. State . . . . . . . People v. Grant . . . . . . . Robinson v. California . . . Johnson v. State . . . . . . Mens Rea Regina v. Faulkner . . . . . Regina v. Prince . . . . . . People v. Ryan . . . . . . . People v. Bray . . . . . . . . United States v. Baker . . . Cheek v. United States . . . Commonwealth v. Twitchell Hendershott v. People . . . State v. Cameron . . . . . . 4 4 5 6 7 7 8 9 10 11 11 12 13 15 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

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4 Intentional Homicide 4.1 Francis v. Franklin . . . 4.2 United States v. Watson 4.3 People v. Walker . . . . 4.4 Ex Parte Fraley . . . . . 4.5 Rowland v. State . . . . 4.6 People v. Berry . . . . . 4.7 People v. Wu . . . . . .

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5 Unintentional Homicide 31 5.1 Commonwealth v. Welansky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 5.2 State v. Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 6 Reckless Murder 33 6.1 Mayes v. People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 7 Felony Murder 7.1 State v. Martin . . 7.2 People v. Hickman 7.3 People v. Gladman 7.4 People v. Cavitt . . 7.5 State v. Shock . . . 34 34 35 36 37 38

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8 The Death Penalty 40 8.1 Olsen v. State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 8.2 McCleskey v. Kemp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 9 Rape 9.1 Brown v. State . . . . . . 9.2 People v. Dorsey . . . . . 9.3 People v. Barnes . . . . . 9.4 State v. Smith . . . . . . . 9.5 In the Interest of M.T.S. . 9.6 State v. Moorman . . . . . 9.7 Commonwealth v. Fischer 10 Conspiracy 10.1 Griffin v. State . . . . 10.2 United States v. Recio 10.3 People v. Lauria . . . . 10.4 United States v. Diaz . 43 43 44 45 46 47 48 48 50 50 51 52 53 54 54 55 56 57 59

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11 Defensive Force, Necessity, and Duress 11.1 People v. La Voie . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.2 People v. Gleghorn . . . . . . . . . . . 11.3 State v. Leidholm . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.4 People v. Goetz . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.5 The Queen v. Dudley & Stephens . . . 3

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11.6 People v. Unger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 12 Insanity 61 12.1 People v. Serravo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 13 Attempt 13.1 State v. Lyerla . . 13.2 People v. Murray . 13.3 McQuirter v. State 13.4 People v. Rizzo . . 13.5 People v. Staples . 13.6 People v. Lubow . 14 Complicity 14.1 State v. Ochoa . 14.2 State v. Tally . . 14.3 People v. Beeman 14.4 Wilson v. People 14.5 State v. Etzweiler 63 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 69 70 73 74 75

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1.1
1.1.1

The Nature of Punishment
Kansas v. Hendricks
Overview

Hendricks disputed his involuntary commitment to a mental institution under Kansas’s Sexually Violent Predator Act. 1.1.2 Facts

Hendricks had been been imprisoned for a long history of child molestation. At a previous trial, he admitted having an uncontrollable urge to molest children and that the treatment he had received was ineffective. Shortly before his release, Kansas enacted the Sexually Violent Predator Act, which mandated the involuntarily commitment of repeat offenders. Kansas sought to commit Hendricks under the Act, but Hendricks argued that the Act violated the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy and ex post facto laws. 4

1.1.3

Issue

(1) Does involuntary commitment under the Act constitute double jeopardy? (2) Is the Act itself an ex post facto law? 1.1.4 Holding

(1) Involuntary commitment under the Act is not double jeopardy. (2) The Act is not an ex post facto law. 1.1.5 Reasoning

It is important to realize that not all detainment constitutes punishment. The Act addresses concerns fundamentally different from those of criminal law. It does not serve purposes of retribution of deterrence. Persons absolved of criminal responsibility may nonetheless be committed under it. The Act bases involuntary commitment not on criminal intent but on the presence of a mental abnormality or personality disorder.

1.2
1.2.1

Ewing v. California
Overview

Ewing was given a sentence of twenty-five years to life under a “three strikes” law. He argued that the sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. 1.2.2 Facts

Ewing was on parole from a nine-year prison term when he stole several golf clubs whose combined value amounted to well over $1,000. As a result, he was convicted of felony grand theft. Having committed several felonies before, including a robbery and several residential burglaries, the California “three strikes” law mandated a sentence of twenty-five years to life. 1.2.3 Issue

Does the sentence Ewing received under the “three strikes” law amount to cruel and unusual punishment?

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1.2.4

Holding

The sentence does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment. 1.2.5 Reasoning

The Supreme Court has long deferred to state legislatures in matters of criminal punishment, and the Court should do so here. In general, a punishment does not qualify as cruel and unusual unless it is grossly disproportionate to the crime. Few challenges based on the Eighth Amendment grounds have been successful outside the context of the death penalty. Ewing’s offense consists not only of shoplifting golf clubs. Rather, one should take into account his long history of criminal behavior, and the state should be allowed to exercise its discretion in setting policy with regard to criminal punishment.

1.3
1.3.1

Apprendi v. New Jersey
Overview

Apprendi claimed that a statute law authorizing lengthened sentences for hate crimes violates the constitutional guarantee of due process. 1.3.2 Facts

Apprendi fired several shots into the home of an African-American family. He pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of a firearm. During questioning, Apprendi mentioned that the crime had been partly motivated by a desire to drive blacks from the neighborhood, though he later retracted this statement. The sentence for possession of the firearm was five to ten years, but a statute mandated a sentence of ten to twenty years if that conduct also qualified as a hate crime. The trial judge subsequently found by a preponderance of the evidence that Apprendi was motivated by racial bias and accordingly handed him the increased sentence. 1.3.3 Issue

Must any factor increasing the maximum sentence of a crime be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt in order to comport with the constitutional guarantee of due process?

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1.3.4

Holding

Any such factor must be so proven to a jury. 1.3.5 Reasoning

The law has historically required the offense and the corresponding punishment to be stated clearly so that the accused may have a fair opportunity to build a defense. If the law authorizes a higher degree of punishment because a crime was committed under particular circumstances, then the presence of those circumstances must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Such is the case here. An accusation of racial bias affects the mens rea and adds racial motivation as an element of the crime. Like any other element, this element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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2.1
2.1.1

The Actus Reus
Proctor v. State
Overview

Proctor challenged a conviction for owning a premises with the intention to sell liquor thereon. 2.1.2 Facts

Proctor was convicted under an Oklahoma statute that made it a crime to keep a premises with the intention to sell alcoholic beverages thereon. 2.1.3 Issue

Is the statute void for failing to state conduct that constitutes a crime? 2.1.4 Holding

The statute is void for failing to state conduct that constitutes a crime.

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2.1.5

Reasoning

The Oklahoma legislature may not criminalize otherwise legal conduct by coupling that conduct with some criminal intent. In order to define a crime, a statute must declare a particular act unlawful. Here, the only act is the admittedly lawful one of keeping a premises. Criminality turns entirely on the intent to use the premises for an unlawful purpose at some undefined future time. Although the intent to commit a crime may be as morally blameworthy as the actual commission of the crime, the legislature nonetheless cannot criminalize intent alone.

2.2
2.2.1

Jones v. United States
Overview

Jones argued that she could not be convicted for failing to take care of a newborn child. 2.2.2 Facts

Jones had agreed to care for a child whose mother had given birth to him out of wedlock. Several months later, the police removed the child to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with malnutrition and severe diaper rash. Despite feeding, the child died shortly thereafter. Jones argued that she could not be convicted absent proof beyond a reasonable doubt that she owed a duty of care to the child. 2.2.3 Issue

Does conviction for negligent omission require proof that the accused failed to perform a legal duty? 2.2.4 Holding

Conviction for negligent omission requires such proof. 2.2.5 Reasoning

In general, one can be held criminally liable for a negligent omission (1) where a statute imposes a legal duty to care for another, (2) where one has some 8

special relationship to another, (3) where one has assumed a contractual duty to care for another, and (4) where one has voluntarily assumed the care of another and so secluded the helpless person as to prevent others from rendering aid. Because critical facts relevant to these criteria have yet to be determined, Jones is entitled to a new trial.

2.3
2.3.1

United States v. Maldonado
Overview

Maldonado appealed a conviction for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. 2.3.2 Facts

Rafael Angel Zavala Maldonado (“Zavala”) was arrested during a drug deal in which the other party, Santos, was an informant for the United States government. Acting on behalf of a dealer named Palestino, Zavala had met Santos in a hotel room. Santos arrived carrying a bag of cocaine, which he intended to convey to Palestino. Despite that Zavala made several phone calls urging Palestino to hurry to the room, Palestino did not appear. Seeing that Santos was becoming anxious, Zavala suggested that they leave the cocaine in the room so they could drink sodas. Zavala was subsequently arrested and convicted. 2.3.3 Issue

May the doctrine of constructive possession be used to impute possession of the cocaine to Zavala? 2.3.4 Holding

The doctrine of constructive possession may be used to impute possession of the cocaine to Zavala. 2.3.5 Reasoning

Although Zavala did not have physical possession of the cocaine, he gained control over it when Santos agreed to leave it in the hotel room. Even though

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his control was not complete, Zavala had the power to prevent Santos from unilaterally leaving with the cocaine. The intent to distribute is shown by the circumstances under which the events took place. Through his phone calls to Palestino and his reassurances to Santos, Zavala showed a clear intent to facilitate the sale of drugs.

2.4
2.4.1

People v. Newton
Overview

Newton appealed a conviction for possession of a firearm on the ground that he did not enter voluntarily into the circumstances under which he was arrested. 2.4.2 Facts

Newton, who had a physical disability, had boarded a plane in the Bahamas while carrying a concealed pistol. At some time during the flight, he apparently engaged in unruly behavior. The captain, who had become aware that Newton was carrying a firearm, decided to land the plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The rationale for the landing, however, was unclear; the landing was never specifically attributed to Newton’s behavior. Newton was then arrested by New York police and convicted under a New York statute forbidding the possession of firearms. 2.4.3 Issue

Should the conviction be overturned on the ground that Newton did not enter New York voluntarily? 2.4.4 Holding

The conviction should be overturned. 2.4.5 Reasoning

The flight was not intended to land in the United States or to traverse territory subject to jurisdiction of the United States. The landing was an interruption that cannot be attributed to voluntary action by Newton.

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2.5
2.5.1

Martin v. State
Overview

Martin appealed a conviction for unruly conduct. 2.5.2 Facts

Martin was arrested at home. While en route to the police station in a police car, he manifested a drunken condition by using loud and profane language. Martin was convicted for being drunk on a highway, but he challenged the conviction on the ground that he did not commit the crime voluntarily. 2.5.3 Issue

Should Martin’s conviction be overturned because his conduct was not voluntary? 2.5.4 Holding

The conviction should be overturned. 2.5.5 Reasoning

Martin was forcibly carried onto the highway by the police.

2.6
2.6.1

People v. Grant
Overview

Grant appealed convictions for aggravated battery and for obstructing a police officer on the ground that his actions were involuntary. 2.6.2 Facts

Grant was drinking at a bar when a fight between two other patrons broke out. The police were called to the scene, where they arrested the brawling patrons. As the patrons were being led outside, a large group of remaining patrons formed around the arresting officers and cheered for the arrested patrons. Grant, who was among the crowd, suddenly attacked Officer Vonderahe, whereupon he was subdued and arrested by Officer Yarcho. After 11

Grant was taken to the county jail, he suffered a grand mal convulsive seizure and required treatment at a hospital. Grant later testified that he remembered nothing of the attack on Officer Vanderohe. Officer Yarcho testified it took him great force to restrain Grant at the scene of the bar brawl, though it took four men to wrestle Grant into the ambulance during his seizure at the jail. Officer Yarcho also testified that Grant appeared to be lucid at the time of arrest. A psychiatrist testifying for Grant stated that Grant suffered from a form of epilepsy that may have prevented him from controlling his actions. The jury was instructed only on the defense of insanity, not on the defense of involuntary action. 2.6.3 Issue

Should Grant’s conviction be overturned on the ground that the jury was not properly instructed as to the defense of involuntary action? 2.6.4 Holding

Grant’s conviction should be overturned. 2.6.5 Reasoning

It is possible for a defendant to lack voluntary control over his actions without being insane. Grant’s attack on Officer Vonderahe may have occurred during an episode of automatism brought on by his condition. If such is the case, then his conviction by the court below cannot be sustained. A finding that Grant is susceptible to automatism does not, however, automatically absolve him of all responsibility. Rather, Grant should be entitled to a new trial, where a jury may determine whether he was indeed acting involuntarily. Even if the jury finds Grant’s actions to be involuntary, the trial court may nonetheless convict him on the ground that he had voluntarily aggravated his propensity for involuntarily violence through heavy drinking.

2.7
2.7.1

Robinson v. California
Overview

Robinson appealed a conviction under a statute that criminalizes drug addiction. 12

2.7.2

Facts

Robinson was arrested after a police officer noticed track marks on his body and heard him admit to occasional use of narcotics. He was subsequently convicted under a statute criminalizing drug addiction. 2.7.3 Issue

Should Robinson’s conviction be overturned on the ground that the status of drug addiction is not a valid crime? 2.7.4 Holding

Robinson’s conviction should be overturned. 2.7.5 Reasoning

Drug addiction should be treated as a disease rather than a “continuous” offense as envisioned by the state. It is hardly conceivable that any state would attempt to convict a person for being mentally ill or having some other disease, and there is no sound basis for distinguishing these recognized diseases from drug addiction. Although drug addiction might call for quarantine or other kinds of confinement, it certainly does not merit punishment. Justice Harlan, concurring. In convicting Grant, the state has attempted to punish the bare desire to commit a criminal act. Justice White, dissenting. The conviction was for the regular, repeated, or habitual use of narcotics immediately prior to Grant’s arrest. It should be upheld.

2.8
2.8.1

Johnson v. State
Overview

Johnson appealed a conviction for delivering cocaine to her newborn son via the umbilical cord.

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2.8.2

Facts

Johnson gave birth to a son. She admitted to having used cocaine the previous night. Shortly after the birth, a toxicology test indicated that the newborn’s blood contained a breakdown product of cocaine. Testimony from the obstetrician showed that the umbilical was functioning normally during delivery and that it continued to deliver blood to the infant for sixty to ninety seconds following birth, until it was clamped. The state prosecuted Johnson on the theory that she had “delivered” cocaine to her newborn son via the umbilical cord. 2.8.3 Issue

Has Johnson delivered a controlled substance to a child within the meaning of the law? 2.8.4 Holding

Johnson has not delivered a controlled substance to a child. 2.8.5 Reasoning

The evidence does not show that any cocaine derivatives passed from mother to child during the sixty- to ninety-second period between the delivery of the child and the clamping of the umbilical cord. There is no support for the theory that any person-to-person delivery of drugs within in the meaning of the statute took place. Furthermore, there is also no evidence to suggest that Johnson timed her doses of cocaine in such a way as to convey the drug to her son. Upholding the conviction in this case would also contradict the policy underlying the law. The legislature has expressly stated that the statute is not intended to authorization prosecution for the birth of a drug-dependent child. Although the problem of drug-addicted mothers is serious, it should not be remedied through piecemeal prosecution.

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3
3.1
3.1.1

The Mens Rea
Regina v. Faulkner
Overview

Faulkner appealed a conviction for burning down a ship. 3.1.2 Facts

Faulkner, a seaman aboard a ship, had sneaked into a cargo hold to steal some rum. He was attempting to stopper a hole he had drilled in a rum cask when a lighted match, which he was using to illuminate the dark hold, ignited the rum. The fire then spread throughout the ship, ultimately causing it to sink. 3.1.3 Issue

Should Faulkner’s conviction be overturned on the ground that he had no intention of burning down the ship? 3.1.4 Holding

Faulkner’s conviction should be overturned. 3.1.5 Reasoning

Barry, J. The Crown has proposed that one who commits a crime should be liable for all consequences stemming from the criminal act regardless of whether those consequences were intended. This construction is too broad, and no authority has ever been cited to support it. Fitzgerald, J. In order to convict a person for the consequences of a criminal act, it should be shown that those consequences were the necessary or likely results of the act. There is no reason to hold that a defendant should be liable for every consequence of his criminal conduct.

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O’Brien, J. The law plainly states that intent is a prerequisite to conviction. In a prior case, it was held that a person who throws a rock with the intent to strike a person but whose bad aim causes that rock to break a window instead is not criminally liable for breaking the window. Keogh, J. The conviction should stand. Faulkner burned down the ship while committing a crime, and he should be held liable.

3.2
3.2.1

Regina v. Prince
Overview

Prince appealed a conviction for taking an underage girl from the possession of her father. 3.2.2 Facts

Prince tried to elope with a girl under the age of sixteen. There is no doubt as to the facts supporting the conviction, but Prince argued that his conviction should be overturned on the ground that he mistakenly believed the girl to be older than sixteen. 3.2.3 Issue

Does Prince’s belief that the girl was older than sixteen constitute a defense to the crime? 3.2.4 Holding

Prince’s belief does not constitute a defense. 3.2.5 Reasoning

Blackburn, J. It is difficult to believe that the legislature intended the conviction to depend on the defendant’s knowledge as to whether his actions constituted a crime. The point of the statute is to punish those who have relations with underage girls.

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Bramwell, B. The conviction should be upheld. Prince’s actions were not only unlawful but morally wrong. Anyone who takes a young girl from her father does so at the risk that she will later turn out to be underage. Denman, J. Although Prince might have a defense if he had taken the girl away in order to protect her from abuse or some other danger, no such justification is present here. Having violated the statute, he cannot now claim that he should be acquitted simply because he did not know that the girl was underage. Brett, J. In general, a defendant should assume the risk that a potentially unlawful action will indeed turn out to be unlawful.

3.3
3.3.1

People v. Ryan
Overview

Ryan appealed a conviction for knowingly possessing a certain amount of hallucinogenic drugs. 3.3.2 Facts

Ryan had purchased some hallucinogenic mushrooms. The mushrooms were to be delivered by a courier service. An investigator learned of the transaction and intercepted the package, delivering it to Ryan while posing as an employee of the courier service. Ryan was arrested immediately after accepting the package. Subsequent chemical analysis of the mushrooms revealed that a sample contained more than 796 milligrams of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic ingredient. Ryan was convicted under a statute that made it a felony to “knowingly and unlawfully possess” more than 625 milligrams of any hallucinogen. Ryan appealed on the ground that he did not know whether the psilocybin content exceeded the statutory limit. 3.3.3 Issue

Should the term “knowingly” be applied to the weight of the hallucinogenic substance as well as the possession of the mushrooms themselves?

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3.3.4

Holding

The term should be so applied. 3.3.5 Reasoning

In general, a criminal statute should be construed to apply the requirement of mens rea to every element of a crime unless the statute plainly indicates otherwise. This principle is meant to avoid the inadvertent imposition of strict liability, and it has been expressly adopted by the state legislature. This interpretation also harmonizes with the evident rationale underlying the criminal law, which categorizes similar offenses based on the amount of drugs possessed. The state’s argument that proving knowledge with regard to weight would frustrate prosecution holds little water. Knowledge of weight can be inferred from a buyer’s discussion of quantity and other aspects of the drug.

3.4
3.4.1

People v. Bray
Overview

Bray appealed a conviction for being a felon in possession of a concealable firearm. 3.4.2 Facts

Bray had been convicted in Kansas for being an accessory after the fact to a crime. In that incident, he had unwillingly become involved in the crime after he drove a friend away from the crime scene. He cooperated fully with the investigation and completed probation. The evidence shows that Bray had lingering uncertainties about whether the conviction was a felony. On multiple occasions, he answered written questions about his criminal history by offering a detailed explanation of the circumstances. At some point, Bray purchased two handguns. He was subsequently convicted for being a felon in possession of firearms. 3.4.3 Issue

Should Bray’s conviction be overturned because of his doubt as to whether he was a felon? 18

3.4.4

Holding

Bray’s conviction should be overturned. 3.4.5 Reasoning

Knowledge that one is a felon becomes relevant where there is doubt that the defendant knew he had committed a felony. It would be unreasonable to expect Bray to know his status, as even the prosecutor was hard-pressed to determine whether the Kansas offense had been a felony or misdemeanor.

3.5
3.5.1

United States v. Baker
Overview

Baker appealed a conviction for trafficking in counterfeit goods. 3.5.2 Facts

Baker was convicted of selling counterfeit Rolex watches. He did not dispute that he intentionally dealt in the watches or that he knew the watches were fake. He challenged the conviction solely on the ground that he did not know that his conduct amounted to a criminal offense. 3.5.3 Issue

Should Baker’s conviction be overturned because he did not know that the sale of counterfeit watches was a crime? 3.5.4 Holding

Baker’s conviction should not be overturned. 3.5.5 Reasoning

The statute requires only that Baker knew he was dealing in counterfeit goods. It does not require the specific knowledge that such conduct amounts to a crime.

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3.6
3.6.1

Cheek v. United States
Overview

Cheek appealed a conviction for tax evasion. 3.6.2 Facts

For several years, Cheek had been increasingly delinquent in paying his taxes. He had initially claimed more and more allowances to reduce his tax burden, but eventually he failed to file his taxes altogether. At trial, he testified that he had attended seminars given by a group that believed that income taxes were unconstitutional and that the Sixteenth Amendment authorized only taxes on profits as opposed to income. Cheek claimed that he held a good-faith belief that his refusal to pay taxes was lawful. He argued that his acts did not have the willfulness necessary to support a conviction. 3.6.3 Issue

Should Cheek’s good-faith belief in the lawfulness of his actions, if accepted by the jury, be accepted as a defense? 3.6.4 Holding

Such good-faith belief should be accepted as a defense. 3.6.5 Reasoning

Because the tax code is so complex, Congress has allowed leniency for individuals who fail to pay taxes because of good-faith misunderstandings. If a jury finds that Cheek really did believe that the Internal Revenue Code did not treat wages as taxable, then any pertinent part of the conviction should be overturned. It is not necessary that a claim of good-faith belief be objectively reasonable. By contrast, Cheek’s claim that certain taxes are unconstitutional should be treated differently. This claim is a studied conclusion and reveals full knowledge of the provisions at issue. If Cheek had wanted to dispute the constitutionality of his taxes, he should have filed first and then taken up the issue with a tax court.

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3.7
3.7.1

Commonwealth v. Twitchell
Overview

Twitchell appealed a conviction for the involuntary manslaughter of his child. 3.7.2 Facts

Twitchell and his wife practiced Christian Science. Among the beliefs of Christian Science were that illnesses should be cured through spiritual healing rather than ordinary medicine. When their son fell ill as a result of complications from an anomaly known as Meckel’s diverticulum, they attempted to cure him using spiritual healing. As a result of the lack of medical attention, the child developed peritonitis and died. Twitchell argued that a conviction would be unfair because he and his wife had relied on a statement of the Attorney General of Massachusetts, which facially precluded prosecution for failure to provide medical attention. 3.7.3 Issue

Is reliance on an official statement of the law a defense to involuntary manslaughter? 3.7.4 Holding

Such reliance is a defense to manslaughter. 3.7.5 Reasoning

The relevant statute provides no complete protection against a charge of involuntary manslaughter. It shields individuals from prosecution only for negligent conduct, not the wanton or reckless conduct underlying involuntary manslaughter. Twitchell, however, has meritoriously contended that the portions of the statute he read failed to give a fair warning as to the crime. That excerpt contained no clear statement regarding criminal liability for involuntary manslaughter, and it is likely that Twitchell would have acted differently had he known of this possibility. Twitchell was attempting to comply with the law insofar as his religious beliefs would allow.

21

3.8
3.8.1

Hendershott v. People
Overview

Hendershott appealed a conviction for third-degree assault. 3.8.2 Facts

Hendershott had been living in the rooming house of Patricia Styskal when problems developed in his relationship with Styskal. Annoyed by his heavy drinking, Styskal finally ordered him to move out. The same night, he returned to the house and assaulted Styskal by striking, kicking, and choking her. During trial, Hendershott offered evidence that he suffered from adult minimal brain dysfunction, which prevented him from having the requisite awareness required to cause harm “knowingly” or “recklessly.” The trial court refused to admit this evidence on the ground that such mental states were required only for specific-intent crimes. Because third-degree assault was not a specific-intent crime, the trial court concluded that the evidence was unnecessary. 3.8.3 Issue

Should evidence of a defendant’s impaired mental state be admitted even though the crime does not require specific intent? 3.8.4 Holding

Such evidence should be admitted. 3.8.5 Reasoning

To bar the evidence that Hendershott has offered would prevent him from raising a defense on the issue of his mental state and thereby create a presumption of liability as to that element of the crime. The result is an impermissible lightening of the prosecution’s burden to prove the mental element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution cannot argue that this defense would tread on territory reserved for the insanity defense, as its burden of proof cannot be lightened simply because the defendant is legally sane. There is no merit to the prosecution’s argument that psychiatric evidence presents evidentiary problems. Finally, the prosecution cannot argue 22

that Hendershott should not be acquitted because he is mentally impaired. Any mental impairment could be treated outside the criminal justice system.

3.9
3.9.1

State v. Cameron
Overview

Cameron appealed a conviction for second-degree aggravated assault, possession of a weapon with intent to use it unlawfully, and fourth-degree resisting arrest. 3.9.2 Facts

The victim had been playing cards with some friends on an empty lot when Cameron approached them and disrupted their game. The card players moved their card table to a different part of the lot. Cameron, however, followed them and overturned the table. The players righted the table and resumed the game. Cameron then attacked the victim with a broken bottle, causing injuries requiring thirty-six stitches. When the police were summoned to the scene, she threw a bottle at their vehicle, shouted obscenities, and tried to fight them off. Cameron argued that her conviction should be overturned on the ground that she was too drunk to form the intent necessary for the crimes. 3.9.3 Issue

Should Cameron’s conviction be overturned because of her voluntary intoxication? 3.9.4 Holding

The conviction should not be overturned. 3.9.5 Reasoning

In general, voluntary intoxication negates the mens rea required for specificintent crimes, such as those for which Cameron was convicted. Here, however, there was insufficient evidence to show credibly that Cameron was so drunk as not to be able to form specific intent. Although she was carrying a quart of

23

wine at the time of the crime, she admitted that she drank relatively little of the wine and that she gave away a substantial amount. Her testimony as to her own intoxication amounts to little more than conclusory descriptions of her condition. Cameron’s own detailed account of the assault shows that her intoxication, if any, was insufficient to negate the element of specific intent.

4
4.1
4.1.1

Intentional Homicide
Francis v. Franklin
Overview

Francis appealed a conviction for second-degree murder. 4.1.2 Facts

Francis, a prisoner, was visiting a dentist’s office under the supervision of prison guards when he escaped and managed to seize a gun from one of the guards. Taking the dentist’s assistant hostage, he unsuccessfully attempted to find an escape vehicle. Francis and his hostage eventually ended up at the front door of Franklin, the victim. Francis knocked on Franklin’s door while pointing the pistol at the door. When Franklin answered and saw the gun, he slammed shut the door, whereupon the gun discharged. The bullet traveled through the door, struck Franklin in the chest, and killed him. Seconds later, the gun discharged again, but this time the bullet went into the ceiling of the Franklin residence. At the time of his arrest, Franklin made a formal statement that he had accidentally fired the gun in response to the slamming door. He challenged his conviction on the ground that the trial court had improperly instructed the jury by stating that intent was to presumed unless that element was specifically rebutted. 4.1.3 Issue

Did the trial court give an improper jury instruction in stating that intent was to be presumed? 4.1.4 Holding

The trial court gave an improper jury instruction. 24

4.1.5

Reasoning

The trial court’s instruction stated that “[t]he acts of a person of sound mind and discretion are presumed to be the product of the person’s will, but the presumption may be rebutted. A person of sound mind and discretion is presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of his act, but the presumption may be rebutted.” These instructions could mislead a reasonable jury to believe that the element of intent was automatically satisfied unless specifically disproved by the defense. The result is an impermissible lightening of the prosecution’s burden to prove the element of intent beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if the instruction is understood as a mandatory rebuttable presumption as opposed to a conclusive assertion, it would still improperly shift the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense.

4.2
4.2.1

United States v. Watson
Overview

Watson appealed a conviction for premeditated murder. 4.2.2 Facts

Watson was sitting in a parked stolen car when two police officers investigating the theft of the car ordered him to halt. Watson bolted from the vehicle and fled into an apartment, where he made a phone call to ask whether the police were still pursuing him. Shortly thereafter, Officer Lunning entered the room to arrest Watson. As Lunning was about to handcuff Watson, Watson broke free and caused Lunning’s gun to drop to the floor. The two then wrestled for several moments, until Watson managed to pin Lunning to the floor. Watson then picked up the gun and pointed it at Lunning, whereupon Lunning pleaded twice that “[i]t wasn’t worth it.” Watson then shot and killed Lunning. 4.2.3 Issue

Do Watson’s actions allow a reasonable jury to draw an inference of premeditation?

25

4.2.4

Holding

Watson’s actions allow such an inference. 4.2.5 Reasoning

Premeditation consists of deliberating whether to kill and the subsequent decision to do so. Although a defendant need not have considered a killing for a specific amount of time, that time must be long enough to show that the killing was not carried out impulsively or in the heat of a fight. Here, Watson had the opportunity to decide whether to kill Officer immediately after he pinned Lunning to the floor and after Lunning had pleaded “[i]t wasn’t worth it.” That Watson chose to shoot even though there was nothing to prevent his escape also suggests that Watson deliberately chose to kill Lunning. These facts allow an inference of premeditation.

4.3
4.3.1

People v. Walker
Overview

Walker appealed a conviction for murder. 4.3.2 Facts

Walker was chatting with some friends on a front porch when the deceased, McClinton, approached them and demanded that they gamble with him. When Walker and his friends refused, McClinton became belligerent, threatening the group with a knife. Eventually Walker and another from the group managed to force McClinton off the porch despite that McClinton was swinging his knife all the while. Eventually Walker threw a brick and knocked down McClinton. Walker then took McClinton’s hand, which was still holding the knife, and thrust the knife into McClinton’s throat. Walker argued that his actions constituted voluntary manslaughter, not murder. 4.3.3 Issue

Do Walker’s actions support a conviction for voluntary manslaughter as opposed to murder?

26

4.3.4

Holding

Walker’s actions support a conviction for voluntary manslaughter. 4.3.5 Reasoning McClinton was

Walker was justifiably provoked into killing McClinton. threatening one and all. The affray was a continuous one.

4.4
4.4.1

Ex Parte Fraley
Overview

Fraley petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus for the purpose of being released on bail while awaiting a charge of murder. 4.4.2 Facts

Fraley had evidently been nursing a grudge against Parker, the deceased, because Parker had killed his son nine or ten months before. One night, when Parker was leaning against the railing in the front of a drugstore, Fraley approached him and shot him twice in quick succession. Fraley then fired several more shots into Parker before turning around and walking away. After going some distance, Fraley then turned back and snapped the head of the now-deceased Parker while saying, “I told you I’d kill you.” Fraley argued that his grudge against Parker had been festering for some time and that the killing was done in the heat of passion. 4.4.3 Issue

Does provocation nine to ten months before a killing make that killing an instance of voluntary manslaughter as opposed to murder? 4.4.4 Holding

Such past provocation does not make the killing an instance of voluntary manslaughter.

27

4.4.5

Reasoning

The courts have held that as little as fifteen minutes is enough to serve as adequate “cooling time” following provocation. At any rate, whether adequate cooling time has elapsed should be determined relative to the amount of time necessary for a reasonable person’s temper to cool. Nine or ten months was certainly enough time for Fraley to cool off.

4.5
4.5.1

Rowland v. State
Overview

Rowland appealed a conviction of murder. 4.5.2 Facts

Rowland’s wife was staying with a friend. When he went to visit her one night, he noticed that the horse of another man, Thorn, was hitched at the door. He then heard his wife and another man talking in the back room. His suspicions aroused, he tried to enter through the back door but found it latched. Rowland then entered through the front door. Upon reaching the room where his wife was staying, he found her with Thorn. She and Thorn, startled, ran from the house. As they were fleeing, Rowland’s wife blew out the lamp. Rowland, firing his gun in the dark and intending to hit Thorn, shot and killed his wife instead. 4.5.3 Issue

Was Rowland adequately provoked so that his actions constituted voluntary manslaughter as opposed to murder? 4.5.4 Holding

Rowland was adequately provoked. 4.5.5 Reasoning

There is no doubt that Rowland’s wife and Thorn were engaging in adultery. In some states, the courts have held that a man who kills his unfaithful wife

28

or the paramour cannot be convicted at all. It would be unreasonable to expect Rowland not to have been provoked.

4.6
4.6.1

People v. Berry
Overview

Berry appealed a conviction for murder on the ground that his emotional state reduced the crime to voluntary manslaughter. 4.6.2 Facts

Berry had married Rachel Pessah, the victim, but their relationship quickly turned sour. Three days after the marriage, Pessah went to Israel for some weeks. When she returned, she told Berry that she had fallen in love with another man, Yako, during her visit to that country. Pessah then persistently taunted Berry by alternately offering and withdrawing her intimacy. Her conduct enraged Berry, who finally strangled her with a telephone cord. 4.6.3 Issue

In light of the circumstances, should the trial court have instructed the jury on voluntary manslaughter? 4.6.4 Holding

The trial court should have instructed the jury on voluntary manslaughter. 4.6.5 Reasoning

The “heat of passion” necessary to reduce murder to voluntary manslaughter need not consist specifically of anger or rage. Rather, it can be any violent, intense, high-wrought, or enthusiastic emotion. Here, the evidence suggests that Berry was indeed aroused to such a heat of passion by Pessah’s continued provocation. The prosecution’s argument that Berry had sufficient cooling time is flawed. Berry’s actions were the culmination of a sustained course of provocation.

29

4.7
4.7.1

People v. Wu
Overview

Wu appealed a conviction for murder on the ground that the trial court failed to instruct the jury as to her cultural background. 4.7.2 Facts

Helen Wu (“defendant”) was already divorced following her first marriage when she met Gary Wu (“Wu”). Sometime thereafter, Wu told contacted defendant and told her that his own marriage was unsatisfactory. The two then discussed the possibility of marrying, and defendant was led to believe that Wu would marry her. Wu subsequently divorced his wife, and he and defendant evidently conceived the victim, Sidney, before marrying. The prospects of marriage then dimmed, and defendant returned to Macau while Sidney stayed with Wu in the United States. Following their separation, defendant and Wu engaged in several disputes as to Sidney’s living situation. During these exchanges, defendant gained information that led her to believe that Wu was not treating Sidney well. These suspicions came to a head during a subsequent visit with Sidney, during which Sidney himself told her that Wu was favoring the children of a new girlfriend. Desperate that the death of Sidney’s paternal grandmother would leave no one to care for him, defendant strangled him. At trial there was evidence tending to show that defendant’s mental state had been influenced by Chinese views of illegitimate children. The trial court, however, refused to tell the jury that it may consider cultural influences. 4.7.3 Issue

Is cultural background a valid consideration for the purposes of determining whether a person was adequately provoked to kill? 4.7.4 Holding

Cultural background is a valid consideration.

30

4.7.5

Reasoning

The prosecution argues that defendant killed Sidney out of her desire to exact revenge on Wu. There is, however, an equally valid alternative interpretation of her motives. Expert testimony from the trial shows that it is entirely possible that defendant killed Sidney during a fit of despair. The determination of her mental state entails the consideration of any cultural influences that might have contributed to her view of the situation. The court should also have instructed the jury on the defense of unconsciousness. There is evidence tending to show that defendant was unaware of her actions at the time of the killing.

5
5.1
5.1.1

Unintentional Homicide
Commonwealth v. Welansky
Overview

Welansky appealed a conviction for involuntary manslaughter. 5.1.2 Facts

Welansky had operated his nightclub for nine years prior to the incident in question. Shortly before the incident, he was hospitalized after suddenly falling ill. During his stay in the hospital, he assumed that the operation of the nightclub would continue as usual. A few days later, an employee of the nightclub lit a match in order to find and replace a broken light bulb. The match inadvertently set fire to an artificial palm tree, and the fire spread rapidly throughout the building. Although several emergency exits existed, those exits were either locked or blocked by heavy objects. Unable to escape the building, 492 patrons died, many of them piled up against the exits. 5.1.3 Issue

Does Welansky’s operation of the nightclub constitute wanton and reckless conduct?

31

5.1.4

Holding

Welansky’s operation of the nightclub constitutes wanton and reckless conduct. 5.1.5 Reasoning

Conduct rises to the level of wantonness or recklessness when the actor chooses to engage in that conduct despite knowing that it poses a significant risk of harm to others. This standard is both subjective and objective. It is subjective in that a defendant who in fact knew of the danger cannot escape liability even if that danger would not have been apparent to the average person. It is objective in that a defendant is presumed to know of dangers that would be obvious to the average person even if the defendant was in fact too foolish to realize that danger. Here, it does not matter that Welansky was not responsible for starting the fire. Rather, his duty was to protect his patrons from fires started for any reason. By allowing the emergency exits to be blocked, he engaged in wanton and reckless conduct.

5.2
5.2.1

State v. Williams
Overview

Williams appealed a conviction for statutory manslaughter following the death of his infant child. 5.2.2 Facts

Williams and his wife had an infant child. Neither he nor his wife were educated, he having only a sixth-grade education and she having only an eleventh-grade education. The child began to suffer a toothache about two weeks before his death. During that time, William and his wife noticed swelling and discoloration of the cheek. Although they gave their son aspirin, they were hesitant to consult a doctor for fear that the appearance of the child would lead authorities to suspect abuse. The autopsy revealed that an abscessed tooth had become infected and gangrenous. The child’s inability to eat because of the bad tooth led to malnutrition, which weakened his immune system and caused him to develop the pneumonia that killed him. The evidenced showed that there was a space of about five days during which 32

the symptoms of gangrene were apparent and when prompt treatment would have saved the child. 5.2.3 Issue

Does the conduct of Williams and his wife support a conviction for statutory manslaughter? 5.2.4 Holding

Their conduct supports such a conviction. 5.2.5 Reasoning

Any person whose negligence proximately causes the death of another may be convicted of statutory manslaughter. Negligence here means only the failure to take the caution that a reasonable person would take under similar circumstances. Although this standard should not be taken to suggest that every refusal to take a child to a hospital constitutes negligence, Williams and his wife knew that medical care was available yet refused to take their child to a doctor despite his continuing symptoms.

6
6.1
6.1.1

Reckless Murder
Mayes v. People
Overview

Mayes appealed a conviction for reckless murder. 6.1.2 Facts

Mayes had come home drunk. His mother, wife, and daughter were home when he arrived, and he behaved belligerently toward them. After throwing a tin quart measure at his daughter, his wife and daughter started to head for the bedroom. Mayes then threw a beer glass at his wife, which struck the oil lamp she was carrying. The burning oil from the lamp splashed onto her body, and Mayes apparently did nothing to help her. His wife died a week later from the burns. 33

6.1.3

Issue

Do the facts support a conviction for reckless murder? 6.1.4 Holding

The facts support a conviction for reckless murder. 6.1.5 Reasoning

Mayes was acting with malicious intent, and such intent makes his action murder. It does not matter that he may not have been targeting anyone in particular when he threw the beer glass. He knew that the action was likely to cause injury regardless of the specific outcome, and he should be held liable for the consequences if they include the death of another. This is not a case in which the death can be characterized as accidental.

7
7.1
7.1.1

Felony Murder
State v. Martin
Overview

Martin appealed a conviction for felony murder. 7.1.2 Facts

Martin had arrived at a party already intoxicated from beer and marijuana. At the party, he and several friends continued to drink until one of his companions was embroiled in an altercation with another guest. The host then demanded that Martin and his group leave. On the way out, Martin lit a fire that eventually engulfed the building, killing a guest who had fallen asleep after becoming drunk. Although there was some question as to how the fire was started, it was established at trial that Martin was responsible. The trial court convicted Martin of felony murder, and Martin appealed on the ground that the jury was not given the appropriate instructions.

34

7.1.3

Issue

Do the facts require a jury instruction as to whether Martin’s conduct gave rise to the “probable consequence” of the death of another guest? 7.1.4 Holding

The facts require such an instruction. 7.1.5 Reasoning

Legislatures and courts have historically been reluctant to make decisions that might give rise to strict-liability crimes. To that end, the New Jersey Code and the Model Penal Code allow a conviction for felony murder only when the victim’s death is a “probable consequence” of the principal crime. Although neither set of rules gives a precise meaning for “probable consequence,” the term has been interpreted to mean something close to the idea of “reasonable foreseeability” in civil torts. The point is that there are some deaths so remote from the principal crime that the perpetrators cannot be held liable for them. Whether liability should attach must be determined by evaluating the connection between the death and the crime as a whole. At one extreme, a robber cannot be held liable if a bank teller is electrocuted while activating the alarm. At the other extreme, a robber is liable for the death of an innocent bystander even if that bystander is killed by the defensive gunfire of the shop owner. Here, the trial court should have instructed the jury not to convict Martin if it found that the death was too remote from Martin’s conduct.

7.2
7.2.1

People v. Hickman
Overview

Hickman appealed a conviction for a felony murder committed during the course of a burglary. 7.2.2 Facts

Hickman and an accomplice were surprised by the police when they emerged from a building they had just burglarized. The pair fled into nearby bushes. A police officer then gave chase but lost sight of the suspects. Several seconds 35

thereafter, the officer saw a person emerging from some bushes while carrying a gun. When the person failed to comply with the officer’s command to halt, the officer opened fire with his shotgun and killed the person. The person turned out to be a detective. Hickman was convicted of causing the detective’s death. 7.2.3 Issue

Should felony murder in Illinois be extended to include situations in which the criminal does not directly inflict the fatal harm on the victim? 7.2.4 Holding

Felony murder should be so extended. 7.2.5 Reasoning

The relevant statute states that “A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits murder if, in performing the acts which cause death . . . [h]e is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than voluntary manslaughter.” The accompanying legislative comments show that the statute is intended to apply not only to instances of direct killing but also to situations in which the perpetrator, in committing the felony, creates a situation that proximately results in the death of another. Although Hickman adverts to a case in which one robber was not held liable for the death of his accomplice, that case is not relevantly similar to the current one because the person killed there was not an innocent bystander.

7.3
7.3.1

People v. Gladman
Overview

Gladman appealed a conviction for a felony murder committed during the course of a robbery. 7.3.2 Facts

Gladman had solicited a ride to a shopping center, where he used a gun to rob a deli. He walked away from the scene of the robbery and proceeded

36

to a bowling alley located about half a mile away. In the meantime, the robbery was reported to the police, which responded by dispatching police cars to nearby intersections and to the vicinity of the crime scene. While in the parking lot of the bowling alley, Gladman saw a police car approach and hid under a parked car. Patrolman Rose, the sole passenger of the police car, then ordered Gladman to come out from hiding and drop his gun. Gladman shot Rose, who died at the scene. 7.3.3 Issue

Was the jury properly allowed to conclude that Gladman committed the homicide during immediate flight from the robbery? 7.3.4 Holding

The jury was properly allowed to reach that conclusion. 7.3.5 Reasoning

Earlier rules established felony murder by considering circumstances such as whether the robber had abandoned his loot or whether he had escaped from the crime scene. These distinctions have resulted in inconsistent criteria. Under current principles, the jury should determine whether a robber was still fleeing at the time of a homicide. The jury, of course, should consider factors such as whether the police were in pursuit, how far the robber had fled, an so forth. Here, the shooting occurred less than fifteen minutes and less than half a mile away from the scene of the crime. Gladman, seeing the police car, apparently believed that the police were on his trail. Under these circumstances, the jury could properly conclude that the homicide was committed in the course of Gladman’s flight.

7.4
7.4.1

People v. Cavitt
Overview

Cavitt appealed a conviction for a felony murder committed in the course of a burglary.

37

7.4.2

Facts

Cavitt and an accomplice planned to burglarize the home of one Betty McKnight. With the cooperation of Mianta McKnight, Betty’s stepdaughter, the duo entered the home and tied up Betty, leaving her on a bed when they left with the loot. Before they left, they also tied up Mianta to make it look as if she were also a victim. By the time Mianta freed herself, Betty had already died from asphyxiation. At trial, Cavitt produced evidence to show that Mianta may have had her own motives to asphyxiate Betty. 7.4.3 Issue

Was Cavitt properly convicted even though there was an alternative explanation for the death of the victim? 7.4.4 Holding

Cavitt was properly convicted. 7.4.5 Reasoning

Conviction for a felony murder requires a (1) temporal, (2) causal, and (3) logical connection between the murder itself and the underlying felony. The point of this requirement is that there must be something more than a mere coincidence of time and place between the crime and the killing before a conviction can be sustained. Even so, the standard does not require that the killing directly further the felony; all that is necessary is some connection beyond mere coincidence. Here, Cavitt and his accomplice tied up Betty McKnight as a planned part of the crime. Cavitt cannot be exonerated simply because one of his cohorts might be blamed for the death.

7.5
7.5.1

State v. Shock
Overview

Cavitt appealed a conviction for first-degree murder.

38

7.5.2

Facts

Cavitt beat the child of a relative so viciously that the child died several days afterwards. He challenged a jury instruction stating that he may be convicted of first-degree murder even though he intended to inflict upon the victim only serious bodily injury as opposed to death. 7.5.3 Issue

May Cavitt be convicted of first-degree murder despite a lack of intent to kill? 7.5.4 Holding

Cavitt may not be convicted of murder. 7.5.5 Reasoning

The relevant statute states specifically that a murder, as opposed to a homicide, committed during the course of another crime shall be considered a first-degree murder. The text of the statute indicates that the killing itself must evidence the intent necessary for murder. Here, the jury instruction suggests that some crime other than murder has been committed, but no crime exists. Henry, J., concurring. The trial court’s construction of the statute would create convictions for first-degree murder in situations that would not otherwise support such a conviction. If upheld, the trial court’s ruling would allow almost any crime resulting in death to be converted to first-degree murder. Norton, J., dissenting. A defendant should be held liable for any death resulting from injury he intentionally inflicts. Note The court is saying that where a set of facts will “directly” support a conviction for murder as well as a lesser crime, then the conviction should only be for the lesser crime. In other words, the felony murder doctrine does not apply unless the facts of the predicate felony are so different from those necessary to directly support murder that they, acting alone, would not

39

support a murder conviction in the absence of an incidental death. Otherwise, all sorts of lesser crimes would be converted to murder.

8
8.1
8.1.1

The Death Penalty
Olsen v. State
Overview

Olsen appealed the imposition of the death penalty following a conviction for capital murder. 8.1.2 Facts

Olsen robbed a bar. During the course of the robbery, he told the owner and two patrons to lie face-down on the floor and then shot all three. Following the robbery, he called his mother and told her of the murders. Olsen was arrested several hours thereafter. The jury convicted him of first-degree murder, and the conviction was not disputed. Olsen contended that the evidence did not support a finding of aggravating circumstances and that the jury instructions given during trial were flawed. 8.1.3 Issue

(1) Was there sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding of the aggravating circumstance that the murders were especially atrocious or cruel, being unnecessarily torturous to the victims? (2) Was there sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding of the aggravating circumstance that Olsen knowingly created a great risk of death to two or more persons? (3) Did the court give proper jury instructions concerning mitigating circumstances? 8.1.4 Holding

(1) There was insufficient evidence to characterize the murder as especially atrocious or cruel. (2) There was insufficient evidence to find that Olsen knowingly created a great risk of death to two or more persons. (3) The jury instructions did not adequately state the law of mitigating circumstances.

40

8.1.5

Reasoning

(1) Although all killings are cruel to some extent, there is no evidence to support the argument that Olsen deliberately inflicted physical or mental anguish on his victims. While a degree of mental anguish almost certainly existed in the victims, this evidence alone does not establish that Olsen was especially atrocious or cruel. (2) Precedent suggests that the concept of “great risk of death to two or more persons” is intended to apply only to innocent bystanders. Here, the killing amounted to a straightforward multiple homicide, and states that recognize multiple homicide as an aggravating factor have set forth the rule as a separate statutory provision. The lack of such a provision here shows that the death of multiple victims alone is not an aggravating circumstance. (3) The trial court erred in telling the jury that Olsen might have the possibility of parole if granted a reprieve from the governor. It should have stated unambiguously that Olsen would not have been eligible for parole if imprisoned for life.

8.2
8.2.1

McCleskey v. Kemp
Overview

McCleskey appealed the imposition of the death penalty following a conviction for murder. 8.2.2 Facts

McCleskey, who was black, had killed a white police officer. He was subsequently sentenced to death. He argued that the death penalty was imposed in violation of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments because it was disproportionately used on black defendants. To support his argument, McCleskey produced scholarly research analyzing over 2,000 instances of the death penalty in Georgia. The study suggested, among other things, (1) that the death penalty is imposed more often when the victim is white and (2) that black defendants tend to receive the death penalty more often than white defendants.

41

8.2.3

Issue

Is the evidence sufficient to support a finding that the death penalty is imposed with an unconstitutional racial bias? 8.2.4 Holding

The evidence is insufficient. 8.2.5 Reasoning

McCleskey first contends that the system imposing the death penalty is flawed because it allows for discretion in sentencing. This argument lacks merit because discretion was introduced to allow leniency to defendants. Under the current regime of punishment, a defendant may be removed from consideration for the death penalty for any number of reasons whereas the death penalty cannot be imposed unless certain statutory requirements are met. McCleskey has failed to show that the imposition of the death penalty is so irregular as to be arbitrary or capricious. McCleskey also contends that the death penalty is unconstitutional in application even if it is constitutional in theory. Although any punishment carries with it the risk that it will be applied with bias, McCleskey has not shown that such risk has become sufficiently great to invalidate the death penalty on constitutional grounds. The authors of the statistical evidence presented by McCleskey themselves conceded that it does not conclusively show racial bias. This, combined with the fact that the criminal law places the presumption in favor of the defendant in many instances, suggests that McCleskey has not made his case. Finally, allowing McCleskey to prevail would start the courts down a slippery slope. Punishments for other crimes would probably be challenged for apparent racial bias. Indeed, such bias need not even concern race. Perhaps a defendant might allege that the jury was biased because of his or her gender or even facial features. McCleskey has made no suggestion as to how this line-drawing problem should be solved.

42

9
9.1
9.1.1

Rape
Brown v. State
Overview

Brown appealed a conviction for rape. 9.1.2 Facts

Edna Nethery, Brown’s sixteen-year-old neighbor, was walking across his farmland as she had done many times before. She encountered Brown, who was tending to some hogs. After the two exchanged some words, Brown allegedly seized her and forced her to the ground. He then removed her clothing and had sexual intercourse with her. Nethery said at trial that she “tried as hard as [she] could to get away” and “screamed as hard as [she] could.” It was later found, however, that Brown had no marks upon his body that would have indicated a struggle. 9.1.3 Issue

Was there sufficient evidence to convict Brown of rape? 9.1.4 Holding

There was not sufficient evidence. 9.1.5 Reasoning

Rape will not be found unless the woman showed utmost resistance. This rule is intended to protect defendants from false allegations of rape. There must have been “the most vehement exercise of every physical power to resist the penetration of her person, and this must be shown until the offense is consummated.” Here, Nethery has fallen short of that standard. She has not so much resisted as retreated from the threat of force.

43

9.2
9.2.1

People v. Dorsey
Overview

Dorsey appealed a conviction for rape. 9.2.2 Facts

The complainant, a forty-one-year-old woman, had entered an elevator in her apartment building. Dorsey followed her into the elevator. In an apparent malfunction, the elevator stopped between floors while Dorsey and the complainant were still inside. According to the complainant’s testimony, Dorsey was manipulating the buttons on the elevator when the malfunction occurred. Dorsey then demanded that the complainant remove her clothes. She complied, and Dorsey engaged in sexual intercourse and sodomy with her during the next ten to fifteen minutes. Afterward, Dorsey restarted the elevator, leaving before the complainant did. 9.2.3 Issue

Did the behavior of the complainant support a finding of rape? 9.2.4 Holding

The behavior of the complainant supports a finding of rape. 9.2.5 Reasoning

The old standard of “utmost resistance” is outdated. It tended to place the victim on trial alongside the defendant. The New York legislature has since enacted the new standard of “earnest resistance,” which requires a woman only to offer resistance that is reasonable under the circumstances. This change was brought about in part by the recognition that the law should not expect a woman to resist a rapist when doing so could put her at risk of serious injury or death. Here, the complainant could not have been expected to do anything other than to comply with Dorsey’s demands. She was trapped in an elevator, where no help could reach her. Dorsey was significantly taller and heavier than she was. It was plain that Dorsey could have forced her to comply had she resisted.

44

9.3
9.3.1

People v. Barnes
Overview

Barnes appealed a conviction for rape. 9.3.2 Facts

Barnes had convinced Marsha M. to come to his home. When Marsha arrived, she stated that she wanted to buy some marijuana from him and leave. Barnes eventually convinced her to join him inside, where he made physical advances on her. Marsha, growing uncomfortable, then left the building. She reached the front gate, but it had been latched using a mechanism she did not know how to operate. Marsha asked Barnes to open the door, but Barnes made no response. The two then argued for some minutes before Marsha rejoined Barnes inside his home. Once inside again, Barnes attacked Marsha by grabbing her collar and threatening other violence. Marsha tried to leave, suggesting that they head to her apartment instead, but Barnes held shut the front door. Barnes then demanded that they had sex. Marsha acquiesced, offering no resistance. 9.3.3 Issue

Should the conviction be upheld despite the lack of overt resistance from Marsha? 9.3.4 Holding

The conviction should be upheld. 9.3.5 Reasoning

The California legislature has amended the statutory definition of rape so that it no longer includes resistance as an element of the crime. The court below plainly erred in applying the outdated standard, which did advert to resistance, as opposed to the current one. This change was made in light of research showing that some women tend to “freeze” when confronted with the possibility of rape and that resistance may actually aggravate the violence of the crime. The absence of resistance therefore cannot be taken as an indication of consent. Here, Marsha maintained from the beginning that she 45

wanted to purchase marijuana from Barnes and leave immediately thereafter. She joined him inside only after he had talked her into doing so, and she resisted his initial advances. Barnes then prevented her from leaving the premises by refusing to open the front gate. Given that Barnes had become agitated, Marsha was justified in believing that he would use violence if she did not comply with his demand for sex. Barnes’s conduct therefore amounts to rape.

9.4
9.4.1

State v. Smith
Overview

Smith appealed a conviction for rape. 9.4.2 Facts

The victim, T, had accompanied a friend to a bar. She met Smith at the bar, and her friend met another male acquaintance. The four then ate dinner at a restaurant. Until this point, there had been no incident. Following dinner, the four agreed to meet at Smith’s apartment. T’s friend and her companion then rode off on a motorcycle while T and Smith walked to the apartment on foot. After they entered the apartment, Smith began to make physical advances on T. T refused and spat in his face when he tried to kiss her. Smith then threatened T by saying that “he could make it hard on [her]” if she refused to have sex with him. T then relented, and the two engaged in sexual intercourse. 9.4.3 Issue

Does the lack of consent in this case support a conviction for rape? 9.4.4 Holding

The lack of consent supports a conviction. 9.4.5 Reasoning

Consent is to be determined by the objective manifestations that would be recognized as such by an ordinary person. Here, T’s actions plainly show

46

that she never consented to having sex with Smith. She spat in his face and relented only when he made implied threats of physical violence. There is no reasonable argument to be made that there was indeed consent despite these actions on T’s part.

9.5
9.5.1

In the Interest of M.T.S.
Overview

M.T.S. appeals a conviction for rape. 9.5.2 Facts

M.T.S. had been living at the home of C.G., the victim, for five days prior to the incident. During the night of the incident, C.G. had already gone to sleep when M.T.S. went up to her room. The parties offered differing accounts of the events that then ensued, but their testimony showed that M.T.S. had sex with C.G. even though she had not consented to the act. C.G. evidently slapped M.T.S. during the encounter but otherwise mustered no appreciable resistance. 9.5.3 Issue

Does the lack of affirmative consent support a conviction for rape? 9.5.4 Holding

Lack of affirmative consent supports a conviction for rape. 9.5.5 Reasoning

Legislative reform has been directed at changing the traditional requirement of “utmost resistance” as an essential prerequisite to showing force. This requirement often framed the perpetrator’s force in terms of the victim’s behavior and tended to “put the victim on trial” alongside the defendant. The legislature has framed rape as a type of criminal battery, in which any use of force may be used to support a conviction. Here, it is necessarily only to show that C.G. did not freely give her consent to the sexual act. Since the prosecution has carried that burden, the conviction should stand.

47

9.6
9.6.1

State v. Moorman
Overview

Moorman appealed a conviction for rape. 9.6.2 Facts

The victim, a female college student, had gone to bed and fallen asleep. Sometime thereafter, she awoke to find herself being penetrated by Moorman. She tried to sit up, but Moorman pushed her back down. Fearing physical injury, she offered no additional resistance. Moorman claimed a mistake of fact, stating that he believed the victim to be another girl, who lived in the same room. 9.6.3 Issue

May sexual intercourse with a sleeping person amount to rape? 9.6.4 Holding

Sexual intercourse with a sleeping person may amount to rape. 9.6.5 Reasoning

The common law has long held that inability to resist the sexual advances of another, whether as a result of intoxication or some other disability, is equivalent to the elements of force and lack of consent. The conviction should therefore be upheld.

9.7
9.7.1

Commonwealth v. Fischer
Overview

Fischer appealed a conviction for rape. 9.7.2 Facts

Fischer and the victim had already engaged in sexual contact prior to the incident in question. During the previous encounter, he and the victim had engaged in at least kissing and fondling, though there was a factual dispute 48

as to whether additional sexual contact occurred. Several hours later, the victim and Fischer went to his room. The victim stated that Fischer then held her down and tried to force his penis into her mouth. He then blocked her from leaving the room until she used her knee to strike him in the groin. Fischer characterized the beginning of the encounter as essentially consensual. According to his account, the victim expressed objections only later, whereupon he ceased sexual activity. Fischer appealed on the ground that his trial counsel had been ineffective because of its failure to request a jury instruction concerning mistake of fact. 9.7.3 Issue

Do the circumstances support a conviction for rape? 9.7.4 Holding

The circumstances support a conviction for rape. 9.7.5 Reasoning

Fischer raises several compelling arguments as to the necessity of a jury instruction as to mistake of fact. Mistake of fact has long been recognized as an affirmative defense for most other crimes. Given the legislative broadening of the definition of force to include “intellectual, moral, emotional, or psychological force,” there is a good argument for giving the jury instruction in most cases. Fischer, however, is not entitled to the instruction because his actions fall under the common-law definition of force. Although there may have been a genuine mistake as to consent, he nonetheless used physical force on the victim. Furthermore, he cannot prevail on the theory of ineffective counsel. The counsel cannot be found ineffective for failing to request an instruction for which there was no precedent.

49

10
10.1
10.1.1

Conspiracy
Griffin v. State
Overview

Griffin was involved in a brawl in which multiple assailants injured two police officers. 10.1.2 Facts

Griffin had evidently crashed his car into a ditch. Officers Vines and Ederington were called to the scene, where a crowd had gathered. After the officers asked Griffin about the circumstances surrounding the crash, Griffin became belligerent and attacked Vines. Vines tried to subdue Griffin with chemical mace and then with physical force, but Griffin kept attacking. Members of the crowd joined the attack on Vines, assaulting him from all directions. Forced to the ground and feeling that his life was in jeopardy, Vines shot Griffin to halt the attack and to disperse the crowd. Meanwhile, other members of the crowd had attacked Ederington, who was fighting off those attackers when he heard Vines’s gunshots. Griffin was later convicted of engaging in a conspiracy to attack the officers. 10.1.3 Issue

May the conviction for conspiracy stand despite the lack of direct evidence that members of the crowd cooperated in the attack? 10.1.4 Holding

The conviction may stand. 10.1.5 Reasoning

It is not necessary to support a conviction for conspiracy with direct evidence of cooperation among multiple perpetrators. In this case, it would be nearly impossible to prove that any two members of the crowd expressly agreed to attack the officers. All that is necessary is to show circumstances that allow an inference that two or more people each committed part of a crime.

50

10.2
10.2.1

United States v. Recio
Overview

Recio appealed a conviction for conspiracy on the theory that the object of the conspiracy had become impossible to attain. 10.2.2 Facts

The police had stopped a truck carrying drugs. With the help of the truck’s drivers, the police set up a sting operation in which the truck acted as bait. When Recio took possession of the truck and started driving it away, the police arrested him. He was later convicted of conspiring to distribute the drugs. 10.2.3 Issue

May the conviction for conspiracy stand even though the object of the conspiracy had been rendered impossible to attain because of seizure of the drugs? 10.2.4 Holding

The conviction may stand. 10.2.5 Reasoning

The court below has erred in holding that a conspiracy is automatically terminated because law enforcement has rendered the object of that conspiracy impossible to attain. This view conflicts with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the crime. The crux of conspiracy is the agreement to commit an unlawful act. The conspirators are not released from liability simply because their plans, unbeknownst to them, have already been foiled by the police. Recio’s contention that the reasoning behind his conviction would lead to uncontainable liability lacks merit. Improper convictions based on conspiracy are already barred by the prohibition of entrapment. To overturn the conviction here would interfere with many legitimate police operations.

51

10.3
10.3.1

People v. Lauria
Overview

The People appealed the decision of the trial court to set aside the indictment of Lauria for conspiracy to commit prostitution. 10.3.2 Facts

Lauria operating a “call-answering service.” The service received phone calls and took messages for its clients, many of whom were prostitutes. Lauria knew of these prostitutes and tolerated their presence. Following a sting operation that led to his arrest, Lauria admitted that he had gone so far as to use the services of one of the prostitutes. On appeal, Lauria argued that mere knowledge that his clients included prostitutes was insufficient to support a conviction for conspiracy. 10.3.3 Issue

May knowledge of a crime be used to infer intent to conspire in committing that crime? 10.3.4 Holding

Knowledge of a crime generally should not be used to infer intent to conspire in committing that crime. 10.3.5 Reasoning

The case law suggests an important boundary between knowledge and intent. In Falcone, a seller of sugar, yeast, and cans was found not liable for participating in the production of moonshine. In Direct Sales, a wholesaler who had supplied abnormally large amounts of morphine to a physician was found liable for conspiring to deal in drugs. These cases suggest that knowledge can support an inference of intent to further the crime, but only when the facts are such as to permit few other inferences. Thus, manufacturing loaded dice, operating illegal wire services for bookmaking operations, and publishing directories listing prostitutes give rise to an inference of intent because these acts can serve no legitimate purpose. Likewise, renting rooms

52

to prostitutes at a grossly inflated rate can also amount to implicit intent because the owner of the premises has thereby acquired a stake in the criminal venture. Furthermore, doing business primarily with criminals would also give rise to an inference of intent. Here, there is no question that Lauria knew that his service was being used by prostitutes. His knowledge, however, is not of the type that would support an inference of intent. There are many legitimate uses for call-answering services, and there is no evidence to suggest that Lauria attempted to profit from its criminal dimension by charging increased rates to prostitutes. There is also no evidence to suggest that prostitutes comprised a significant portion of his total clientele. Although the crime of misprision of felony has existed for a long time, liability for tolerating criminal behavior should be limited only to felonies. It should not be extended to misdemeanors, as the one that has been committed here.

10.4
10.4.1

United States v. Diaz
Overview

Diaz appealed a conviction for use of a firearm in connection with conspiracy to commit another crime. 10.4.2 Facts

An undercover DEA agent had managed to negotiate a deal in which Diaz would sell to the agent a kilogram of cocaine. Diaz and several accomplices, including one Pereillo, were present when the deal was executed. As soon as the drugs had been exchanged for money, the agent gave the signal to arrest the dealers. A shootout then ensued. Although Diaz himself carried no firearm during the deal, Pereillo’s use of a gun was imputed to him. 10.4.3 Issue

May the use of a firearm by one criminal be imputed to a conspirator? 10.4.4 Holding

The use of a firearm may be so imputed.

53

10.4.5

Reasoning

The Pinkerton doctrine allows the acts of respective conspirators to be imputed to one another. Here, it was foreseeable that a firearm would be used during the drug deal.

11
11.1
11.1.1

Defensive Force, Necessity, and Duress
People v. La Voie
Overview

The People appealed a directed verdict in favor of La Voie. The verdict had been granted on the ground that La Voie had acted in self-defense. 11.1.2 Facts

La Voie was driving home from work after midnight. As he was driving, a car approached from his rear and rammed his vehicle. The ramming vehicle was occupied by four drunk men. Although La Voie applied the brakes in an effort to stop his car, the force of the ramming car was still sufficient to push his car forward, causing all four wheels to leave skid marks on the road. The ramming vehicle pushed La Voie’s car through a red light. After coming to a stop, La Voie got out of his car, carrying a revolver with him. The four drunken men got out of their car and began to threaten La Voie. When one of them advanced toward La Voie, La Voie shot him. 11.1.3 Issue

Should La Voie be acquitted because he was acting in self-defense? 11.1.4 Holding

La Void should be acquitted. 11.1.5 Reasoning

It is a settled principle that one should be acquitted when he has reasonable grounds for believing that he is in imminent danger of being killed or suffering

54

great bodily harm. Here, La Voie was driving home after midnight. The four men in the other car were strangers to him. Under these circumstances, La Voie had a right to defend himself by shooting a potential assailant.

11.2
11.2.1

People v. Gleghorn
Overview

Gleghorn appealed a conviction for assault on the ground that he had been acting in self-defense. 11.2.2 Facts

Gleghorn and another tenant, Fairall, lived in rooms they had rented from Ms. Downes. When Fairall arranged his lease with Downes, he gave to Downes his stereo. There was a misunderstanding as to the nature of the exchange. Downes apparently thought that Fairall had intended the stereo to act as payment whereas Fairall thought he was merely loaning it to Downes. When Fairall learned that Downes had sold the stereo, he took out his anger by vandalizing her car and her room. Gleghorn, having learned of the incident, evidently decided to take matters into his own hands. One night at 3 o’clock, Fairall entered Gleghorn’s room. Fiarall then attempted to beat Fairall and succeeded in setting fire to his bed. Fairall then produced a bow and arrow he kept in the room and shot Fairall with an arrow. Enraged by the injury, Fairall beat Gleghorn and inflicted upon him serious injuries. At trial Fairall claimed that his initial provocation of Gleghorn did not warrant a self-defensive attack and, therefore, that Gleghorn should be considered the aggressor. He argues that he should have been granted a jury instruction to that effect. 11.2.3 Issue

Do the circumstances permit the conclusion that Gleghorn was actually acting in self-defense? 11.2.4 Holding

The circumstances do not permit that conclusion.

55

11.2.5

Reasoning

One who uses force in self-defense is justified in that use of force if the assailant has manifested an intent to cause him serious bodily injury. The assailant cannot escape liability for his conduct by claiming later that he secretly had no intention of hurting the other party. The original assailant may claim self-defense only if he first desists from the fight and finds that the other party continues to attack. Here, the jury could have found that Fairall had reasonably concluded that his life was in danger. Even if Fairall was not justified in this conclusion, Gleghorn would still not be excused since he continued to beat Fairall long after Fairall had been subdued.

11.3
11.3.1

State v. Leidholm
Overview

Leidholm appealed a conviction for manslaughter on the ground that she was acting in self-defense. 11.3.2 Facts

Leidholm’s marriage had been deteriorating. By the time of the incident in question, the relationship had already spiraled into violence and alcohol abuse on the part of both partners. During the night of the incident, Leidholm and her husband had attended a gun-club party, at which they both consumed copious amounts of alcohol. Upon arriving home, they began to argue with each other. The argument eventually escalated into physical violence, with the husband knocking Leidholm to the ground multiple times. After her husband had gone to sleep that night, she got a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him to death. At trial, expert testimony was presented on the issue of ‘battered-wife syndrome” and its possible effects on a woman in Leidholm’s position. Leidholm appealed on the ground that she was not granted a proper jury instruction as to self-defense. 11.3.3 Issue

Should Leidholm have been granted a jury instruction on the subjective standard of self-defense?

56

11.3.4

Holding

Leidholm should have been granted such an instruction. 11.3.5 Reasoning

One who seeks to show that her conduct is justified or excused on the ground of self-defense must convince the trier of fact that she held a (1) sincere and (2) reasonable belief that her actions were necessary to prevent imminent bodily harm. The question here is whether reasonableness should be determined according to an “objective” or “subjective” standard. The objective standard would compare the actor’s conduct to the conduct of a hypothetical reasonable person in a similar situation. By contrast, the subjective standard asks the trier of fact to determine whether a person with qualities relevantly similar to those of the actor could reasonably have been induced to believe that the conduct in question was necessary as self-defense. Because the North Dakota statute does not disclose any preference, express or implied, as to which standard should be applied, one should follow precedent and apply the subjective standard. The trial court therefore erred in failing to instruct the jury specifically to consider the relevant characteristics of Leidholm in determining whether she was justified in stabbing her husband. Furthermore, the trial court should also have given the jury an instruction as to how the possibility of batteredwife syndrome would affect the subjective reasonableness of Leidholm’s actions. Although battered-wife syndrome does not create a presumption of innocence, the jury should be notified of this factor so that it may consider it alongside any other circumstances in determining guilt.

11.4
11.4.1

People v. Goetz
Overview

The People appealed the decision of a lower court to quash indictments of Goetz for attempted murder and assault. The lower court had ruled that Goetz had acted in self-defense.

57

11.4.2

Facts

Goetz had boarded a subway train. He was carrying an unlicensed pistol, as he had been doing for three years. Four youths—Canty, Cabey, Ramseur, and Allen—were riding in the same car. Sometime thereafter, Canty, and possibly Allen, approached Goetz and demanded that Goetz give them five dollars. Neither youth displayed a weapon. Goetz responded by pulling out his gun and firing one shot at each of the four youths. Having missed Cabey the first time, he fired a second shot, which severed Cabey’s spinal cord. At trial Goetz testified that he had been mugged before and that he had started carrying the gun in order to ward off muggers. He also testified that he believed the youths to be “playing with [him]” when they approached him and that the youths posed a threat of physical injury. Goetz testified that he had contemplated the order in which he would shoot the youths and that he would have shot Cabey in the head if he had been calm enough to do so. Finally, Goetz testified that he would have fired more shots if he had not run out of ammunition. The lower court then quashed the indictments for attempted murder and assault on the ground that the grand jury had been incorrectly instructed on the objective standard of self-defense. 11.4.3 Issue

Should the objective standard of reasonableness be applied in evaluating in Goetz’s claim of self-defense? 11.4.4 Holding

The objective standard should be applied. 11.4.5 Reasoning

The court below misconstrued the statute concerning self-defense. The statute provides that one may use force in self-defense when “he reasonably believes” that he is in immediate danger of suffering serious bodily harm. The court below has apparently placed the emphasis on “he” as opposed to “reasonably.” In doing so, it effectively applied a subjective, rather than an objective, standard of self-defense. The history of the statute does not support this interpretation. Although it is based on substantially similar language from the Model Penal Code, the legislature was careful to specify that the 58

actor should have a “reasonable” belief, as opposed to an unqualified belief, that he was about to suffer harm. To refuse to apply the objective standard here would allow the acquittal of any actor who claimed self-defense even if the actor had no rational basis for believing that defensive force was necessary. Goetz’s contention that the objective standard would fail to take into account his previous experience with muggings lacks merit. The objective standard already implicitly includes such factors.

11.5
11.5.1

The Queen v. Dudley & Stephens
Overview

Dudley and Stephens argued that a killing was justified because of necessity. 11.5.2 Facts

Dudley, Stephens, Brooks, and the seventeen- or eighteen-year-old decedent were serving as crew members on a yacht when they were swept overboard in a storm. The four managed to climb into a small boat belonging to the yacht. At that point, they were likely more than a thousand miles from land. They had no food save for a few small cans of turnips and small they had caught. They had no fresh water except for the rainwater they occasional managed to catch. By the time of the incident, the four had spent more than eighteen days adrift. Their supply of food and water had been exhausted for at least five days. On more than one occasion, Dudley and Stephens had discussed killing the decedent so that they could cannibalize him for survival. Brooks steadily refused to go through with the plan. Ultimately, Dudley cut the decedent’s throat with a knife. At the point the decedent had been so weakened by thirst and hunger that he could offer no resistance. The remaining survivors fed on the decedent’s flesh. Four days thereafter, they were rescued. 11.5.3 Issue

Was the killing justified by necessity? 11.5.4 Holding

The killing was not justified by necessity. 59

11.5.5

Reasoning

The law is clear that it recognizes only self-defense as a justification for killing. While some authorities to the contrary exist, they should not be considered the law of England. Here, there was no evidence that the decedent had done anything that would have given Dudley and Stephens an adequate excuse for carrying out the killing. The decedent committed no act of violence toward the remaining survivors. Indeed, the decedent was so weak that he was incapable of resisting the killing. Although the evidence produced at trial suggests that Dudley and Stephens would not have survived until rescue had they not cannibalized the decedent and that the decedent would not have survived until rescue in any case, these circumstances still do not justify the killing. They might have been rescued sooner, in which case the killing would have been unnecessary. Alternatively, they might never have been rescued at all. Although the temptation to kill may have been strong, this temptation cannot be treated as justification; otherwise, all sorts of killings might be excused on the basis of necessity.

11.6
11.6.1

People v. Unger
Overview

Unger appealed a conviction for escaping from prison. 11.6.2 Facts

Unger had been sentenced to a one- to three-year term for auto theft. About two months after he began serving the sentence, he was transferred to the “honor farm,” the prison’s minimum-security section. According to Unger’s testimony, he had been threatened by an inmate. After the transfer, a knifewielding inmate attempted to force him to perform sexual acts. Sometime thereafter, he was molested by three inmates. Afterward, he received a phone call threatening him with death because someone apparently believed that he had reported the attack to authorities. Fearing for his safety, Unger walked off the honor farm. 11.6.3 Issue

May the escape be excused on the basis of compulsion or necessity? 60

11.6.4

Holding

The escape may be excused on the basis of necessity. 11.6.5 Reasoning

The law recognizes a distinction between compulsion and necessity. Compulsion is generally considered to arise from an imminent threat of harm from a human being. Necessity, by contrast, arises from the forces of nature. Here, Unger should be considered to have been driven by necessity. There was no evidence that his escape was motivated by an immediate attack. No other prisoner directly compelled him to escape. Rather, Unger chose the lesser of two evils. Unger’s testimony that he feared reprisal from other inmates was sufficient to warrant an instruction on the excuse of necessity. The trial court erred in refusing the instruction. Although other courts have held that the excuse of necessity is applicable only when certain factors are present, such factors should be considered factual issues to be weighed by a jury. The courts should not treat them as foreclosing the possibility of a defense based on necessity.

12
12.1
12.1.1

Insanity
People v. Serravo
Overview

The People appealed the acquittal of Serravo on the ground that the defense of insanity protected him from conviction for first-degree murder and firstdegree assault. 12.1.2 Facts

Serravo returned from a meeting of his labor union after midnight. He went upstairs to the bedroom where his wife slept and stabbed her in the shoulder with a knife. After his wife awoke, Serravo told her that she had been stabbed by an intruder. Police officers were summoned to the scene, and Serravo also told them that an intruder had entered the house. Only later did his wife discover, after reading some letters that Serravo had hidden, that Serravo himself had been responsible for the stabbing. 61

At trial, the prosecution’s expert testified that he had the delusional belief that God had commanded him to build a sports complex for the purpose of showing people the path to perfection. Serravo apparently believed that his wife was standing in the way of this divine purpose, and he felt that the only way to overcome the problem was to stab her. The expert testified that Serravo probably suffered from damage to the left temporal lobe or paranoid schizophrenia, either of which would explain his belief that he had a privileged relationship with God. Finally, the expert testified that Serravo was probably aware that stabbing his wife was against the law. Serravo produced testimony from four experts, which also suggested he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or a similar disorder. Although the experts differed as to the details of the diagnosis, they agreed that Serravo was probably incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. One expert then suggested that Serravo had lied to police because he feared that they would fail to understand the moral reasoning he had used to justify the stabbing. 12.1.3 Issue

(1) Should the definition of insanity turn on the ability to perceive moral right and wrong or legal right and wrong? (2) Did the trial court err in failing to explain this standard in the jury instruction? 12.1.4 Holding

(1) The definition should turn on moral right and wrong. (2) The trial court erred in failing to explain this standard. 12.1.5 Reasoning

The M’Naghten rule makes it clear that the insanity defense should turn upon the ability to differentiate between right and wrong in moral terms, not right and wrong in legal terms. It would be legal formalism to hold the accused responsible for an act simply because he knew it to be legally prohibited but not that it was morally wrong. A person who commits an act that is morally wrong ought to be held responsible regardless of whether he realized it was legally prohibited as well. Contrariwise, a person who commits an act without realizing its moral wrongness should not be held responsible even though he may have known it was prohibited by law. This rule is well-supported by precedent. 62

The M’Naghten rule addresses two cases: (i) where the defendant is “insane” in the limited sense that he recognizes that a particular violation is morally wrong but nonetheless believes it will redress some grievance; and (ii) where the defendant is so delusional as to be incapable of recognizing any distinction between moral right and wrong. These cases are reconcilable with each other in that the former assumes an essentially working perception of morality whereas the latter does not. It is also important to apply an “objective” standard of morality in determinations of sanity. A person’s understanding of morality essentially grows from the system of behavior that is approved by society. Under this standard, a person may still be found insane if he personally believed the action in question to be morally right, even if knew that it was legally prohibited and frowned upon by society. Furthermore, it is unnecessary to recognize a “deific decree” exception to the societal standard of morality. Delusional deific decrees, such as those under which Serravo was acting, are not so much an exception as an essential element in the understanding of morality. If one’s judgment is clouded by the belief that God has given him a mandate to do certain acts, then he would almost certainly be incapable of perceiving the true morality or immorality of those acts. The trial court therefore erred by giving an instruction on the insanity defense that was too vague and which failed to specify the societal standard of morality. The instruction, as given, could easily have misled the jury into believing that the standard of morality to be applied was to be the defendant’s own subjective standard.

13
13.1
13.1.1

Attempt
State v. Lyerla
Overview

Lyerla appealed a conviction for attempted second-degree murder. 13.1.2 Facts

Lyerla was driving on an interstate highway when he encountered the pickup truck driven by the victims. The two vehicles passed each other several times. When Lyerla then attempted to pass the victims’ pickup, the victims 63

accelerated to prevent him from doing so. Lyerla then pulled off the interstate and loaded his gun. The victims’ pickup evidently waited for him near the on-ramp while he did so. When Lyerla returned to the interstate, the victims again tried to pass him, whereupon he fired three shots at their truck. Two of the bullets missed the victims, but a third killed the driver. Lyerla testified that he believed the victims to have been taunting him and that he feared for his life. He was convicted on one count of second-degree (i.e., reckless) murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder. 13.1.3 Issue

Do the two missed shots constitute attempted second-degree murder? 13.1.4 Holding

The missed shots do not constitute attempted second-degree murder. 13.1.5 Reasoning

Lyerla has been charged with attempting to commit a reckless murder, which is a logical impossibility. An actor may not be held responsible for attempting a criminal act if he lacks the requisite specific intent associated with that act. The very definition of reckless murder, however, is that the killing lacks any specific intent. It would be absurd to hold that Lyerla was capable of attempting a reckless act. Sabers, Justice, dissenting. The majority has construed the concept of intent too broadly. Here, the only “intent” that should matter is that Lyerla voluntarily fired at the victims’ truck.

13.2
13.2.1

People v. Murray
Overview

Murray appealed a conviction for attempt to enter an incestuous marriage.

64

13.2.2

Facts

Murray had declared that he intended to marry his niece. He had gone so far as to elope with the niece and to find a magistrate willing to perform the ceremony. 13.2.3 Issue

Do Murray’s actions amount to an attempt to enter an incestuous marriage? 13.2.4 Holding

Murray’s actions do not amount to such an attempt. 13.2.5 Reasoning

Although Murray’s conduct shows his intention to go through with the marriage, the conduct must evidence something more than intention before it can qualify as an attempt. Murray’s conduct is comparable to that of a man who buys and loads a gun with the intention of shooting his neighbor but who takes no further steps to that end. Murray would be guilty of the attempt only if his plans had progressed to such an extent that he and his niece would have taken their vows but for timely intervention.

13.3
13.3.1

McQuirter v. State
Overview

McQuirter appealed a conviction for attempted assault with intent to rape. 13.3.2 Facts

Mrs. Allen, a white woman, was walking home with her two children and a neighbor’s daughter when she passed a pickup truck in which McQuirter, a black man, was sitting. As they passed McQuirter, he muttered something indistinct and exited the vehicle. He apparently began following Allen and the children. Upon noticing his presence, Allen told the children to run to a neighbor’s house and notify the neighbor of the situation. When the neighbor came outside, McQuirter stopped following Allen. He did, however, loiter outside her house for another thirty minutes before leaving. After he was 65

arrested, McQuirter admitted that he had gone to town with the intention of “getting” a white woman. 13.3.3 Issue

Does McQuirter’s conduct amount to attempted assault with intent to rape? 13.3.4 Holding

The conduct amounts to such an attempt. 13.3.5 Reasoning

In determining whether McQuirter indeed intended to carry out a crime, the jury may consider social conditions and customs founded upon racial differences. Having done so, the jury has left no reversible error.

13.4
13.4.1

People v. Rizzo
Overview

Rizzo appealed a conviction for attempted robbery. 13.4.2 Facts

Rizzo and three accomplices had decided to rob a man carrying the payroll for the United Lathing Company. They planned to ambush the man as he was delivering the payroll. The four men, two of whom were armed, drove around to look for their target. After arriving at a building, the posse noticed that they were being followed by the police. They were arrested as they tried to flee. They never found their target. 13.4.3 Issue

Do the actions of Rizzo and his accomplices amount to an attempt to commit robbery? 13.4.4 Holding

The actions do not amount to such an attempt. 66

13.4.5

Reasoning

The conduct of Rizzo and his accomplices amount only to preparation to commit a crime. In order for conduct to qualify as an attempt, it must be such as to result naturally in the completion of the crime but for intervention by some external cause. To be guilty of attempted robbery, the posse would at least need to have located their target and made some motion toward forcibly taking the money. In actuality, Rizzo and his men never even found their target. Their conduct is like that of a burglar merely looking for a building to burglarize or a murderer looking for his intended victim. In these latter examples, the defendant would not be guilty of the attempted crime.

13.5
13.5.1

People v. Staples
Overview

Staples appealed a conviction for attempted burglary. 13.5.2 Facts

Staples decided to steal from a bank by drilling his way into its vault. He rented an office located above the bank vault. Prior to the rental period, he moved certain equipment for the crime into the office. This equipment included drilling tools, two acetylene gas tanks, a blow torch, a blanket, and a linoleum rug. The landlord, who had ordered repair work to be done during the same period, noticed the equipment when he was supervising the repair work. Staples then began drilling, though he abandoned his plans before he reached the vault. When the lease expired, the landlord reported the suspicious tools to the police. Staples later told police that he had become ambivalent about the plan, thinking on the one hand that it was absurd but on the other hand that he did not want his investment to go to waste. 13.5.3 Issue

Does Staple’s conduct amount to attempted burglary? 13.5.4 Holding

The conduct amounts to attempted burglary.

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13.5.5

Reasoning

The drilling constitutes the commencement of the crime. It indicates that Staples went beyond mere preparation. Although Staples was not interrupted in the act of drilling, the landlord’s reporting of the suspicious tools to the police constitutes intervention. Because Staples has attempted the crime, he is guilty regardless of whether he abandoned his plan out of fear or a change of heart.

13.6
13.6.1

People v. Lubow
Overview

Lubow appealed a conviction for solicitation of grand larceny. 13.6.2 Facts

Lubow owed to one Silverman more than $30,000 for diamonds purchased on credit. Silverman eventually approached Lubow and demanded repayment of the debt, explaining that he was about to go bankrupt for lack of the money he was owed. In response, Lubow proposed that Silverman join a scheme. Explaining the scheme, Lubow said that Silverman was first to purchase diamonds on credit. The diamonds would then be sold, with Lubow, Silverman, and another accomplice pocketing the proceeds. When the creditors inevitably demanded payment for the diamonds, Silverman was to declare bankruptcy and explain that he had lost all his money through gambling. Silverman reported the scheme to the district attorney. He was then equipped with a tape recorder and captured a conversation between himself and Lubow outlining the scheme. Lubow was then convicted. 13.6.3 Issue

Does Lubow’s conduct amount to solicitation to commit grand larceny? 13.6.4 Holding

Lubow’s conduct amounts to such solicitation.

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13.6.5

Reasoning

Lubow’s conduct evidences his intention to convince Silverman to join the criminal scheme. He is therefore guilty of solicitation.

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14.1
14.1.1

Complicity
State v. Ochoa
Overview

Ochoa, Avitia, and Velarde appealed a conviction for complicity in seconddegree murder. 14.1.2 Facts

The eviction of one Navarro from his home had provoked the anger of the community. When Navarro was later arrested after attempting to break into his old dwelling, members of the community organized a meeting, at which they unsuccessfully demanded Navarro’s release. As the sheriff and several officers were transporting Navarro from jail to a hearing, they encountered a crowd of about 125 people. When the crowd was denied entry to the small courtroom, it became agitated. Various members of the crowd pounded on the courthouse doors and pressed against its windows with enough force to crack them. At the conclusion of the hearing, the officers transporting Navarro had determined that it would be too dangerous to leave through the front entrance to the courthouse and confront the crowd. The officers therefore decided to take Navarro through a rear exit and into an alley. When they reached the rear exit, however, the crowd had already gathered there. Although the officers managed to push their way through the crowd for some distance, violence broke out in the alley. Evidence at trial showed that Boggess was knocked unconscious by an unidentified member of the crowd and that Ochoa and Avitia began beating and kicking him immediately thereafter. At almost the same time, two shots fired from elsewhere struck and killed Sheriff Carmichael. Although there was some suggestive evidence as to the gun that killed Sheriff Carmichael, the murder weapon was never definitively identified.

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14.1.3

Issue

Are any of the three defendants guilty of complicity in the murder of Sheriff Carmichael? 14.1.4 Holding

Ochoa and Avitia were complicit. Velarde was not complicit. 14.1.5 Reasoning

A person may not be held liable as an accomplice to a crime unless he evidences the same intent or purpose as the principal. Even if a person contemplates aiding the commission of the crime, that contemplation does not support a conviction unless it is accompanied by overt action. Here, Velarde’s actions fail to establish complicity on his part. Although he was a member of the crowd, he was not seen to take any suspicious actions following the outbreak of violence. By contrast, Avitia and Ochoa indicated their intent to abet the murder by attacking Deputy Boggess after he had been knocked down. Even if they did not know that anyone had intended to kill the sheriff, they gained that knowledge as soon as the first shot was fired. They also continued to attack Boggess even after Sheriff Carmichael had been shot. This fact allows the jury to infer that Avitia and Ochoa attacked Boggess with the purpose of preventing him from coming to Carmichael’s aid. The conduct of Avitia and Ochoa can therefore be viewed as having provided purposeful aid to the commission of the killing itself.

14.2
14.2.1

State v. Tally
Overview

Tally appealed a conviction for complicity in murder. 14.2.2 Facts

Judge John Tally was a brother-in-law to four brothers, the Skeltons, who committed the murder. The victim, R. C. Ross (“Ross”), had provoked the wrath of Tally and the Skeltons by carrying on an affair with a sister of the Skeltons. Ross had evidently learned that the Skeltons intended to kill him in retaliation. On the morning of the murder, Ross was already fleeing 70

in a carriage traveling from Scottsboro to Stevenson. The Skeltons, having learned of Ross’s flight, decided to chase him down and to shoot him when they caught him. There was no evidence to show that Ross knew he was being chased despite his early departure. Soon after the chase was underway, it became the talk of the town. The consensus was that tragedy would unfold. Meanwhile, Tally was waiting at the telegraph office in Scottsboro “to see if anyone if anybody sent a telegram”—apparently referring to any telegram intended to warn Ross of the attempt on his life. By that point, the fear of violence was sufficiently great that one Dr. Rorex suggested to Tally that someone call for a doctor to be sent to Stevenson in anticipation of bloodshed or, alternatively, that officials in Stevenson be notified so that they may arrest the attackers. Tally dismissed both suggestions. As it turned out, E. H. Ross, a relative of the victim, did arrive at the office to send a telegram intended to provide such warning. Tally, who was standing close by as the message was given to the telegraph operator, apparently gathered that such was its purpose. Tally brought up the possibility of bullying the telegraph operator into not sending the message to Judge Bridges, who was also present at the office. Bridges, however, dissuaded Tally from doing so. Tally then decided to send a telegram of his own, which instructed the telegraph operator in Stevenson, one Huddleston, not to deliver the warning to Ross. Tally’s telegram proved effective. When Huddleston had received the telegram of E. H. Ross but before Tally’s telegram had been sent, Huddleston had immediately gone with the message to a nearby hotel, apparently with the hope of finding Ross there. Because Ross had not yet arrived, Huddleston returned to his office. By that time, Tally’s telegram had arrived. Shortly thereafter, Huddleston saw the carriage carrying Ross in the distance. Although he had ample time to meet the carriage on the road and deliver the warning, Tally’s telegram had evidently changed his mind sufficiently that he decided to delay by sending someone to find a marshal and to converse with a relative of Tally in the meantime. When the carriage arrived in Stevenson, Ross was immediately ambushed by three of the four Skelton brothers. Ross was shot in the leg and took cover behind a building. Unbeknownst to him, however, the fourth Skelton brother was lying in wait for him and shot him in the head.

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14.2.3

Issue

(1) Did Tally perform any act intended to further the murder? (2) Is it essential that any such action contributed to the death of Ross? (3) Did the said action in fact contribute to the death of Ross? 14.2.4 Holding

(1) Tally’s sending the telegram to Huddleston amounted to an act intended to further the murder. (2) It is essential that Tally’s actions contributed to the death of Ross, though such an action need not be the but-for cause of the death. (3) Tally’s actions did in fact contribute to the death of Ross. 14.2.5 Reasoning

(1) There is no doubt that Tally knew of the attempt on Ross’s life and that he intended to facilitate the murder by preventing any warning of danger from reaching Ross. The revenge killing was already the talk of the town when the chase was underway. Tally knew that the Skeltons were heavily armed whereas Ross was unaware of the danger. When Dr. Rorex suggested sending for physicians or law enforcement, Tally refused the suggestions, apparently with the desire that the plot should continue uninterrupted. Although Tally’s telegram to Huddleston was worded rather ambiguously, its only possible meaning under the circumstances was that Huddleston should avoid warning Ross of any danger. (2) Tally must have contributed to the death of Ross, though any such contribution need not be a but-for cause of the death. Rather, all that any such contribution must do is to facilitate the commission of the crime. In the current case, Tally’s actions would suffice if they deprived Ross of some opportunity to escape death. (3) Tally’s telegram to Huddleston did in fact contribute to the murder by depriving Ross of information that might have saved his life. The evidence shows that Huddleston had already attempted to deliver the warning to Ross immediately upon receiving it. Only after this first delivery attempt did Huddleston receive the Tally’s telegram, whereupon his attitude changed markedly. Rather than approaching Ross’s carriage to warn him of the danger, Huddleston instead delayed by sending for the marshal, whose whereabouts were unknown, and conversing with a relative of Tally. The result was that Ross was left completely unaware that he was being pursued 72

by four men with guns. While it is true that Ross may have been killed even if he had received the warning, it may be inferred that he would have reacted differently to the shooting if he had known the full extent of the plot against him. As it was, Ross knew at best that three men were attacking him when the gunfire began. He sought cover behind the nearest building, not knowing that a fourth man was lying in wait there. Had Ross been warned that four men were trying to kill him, it is likely that he would have fled to a nearby hotel or someplace where he would have been less susceptible to ambush. Ross’s failure to receive the warning therefore deprived him of information that would have increased his chance of surviving.

14.3
14.3.1

People v. Beeman
Overview

Beeman appealed a conviction for aiding and abetting a robbery. 14.3.2 Facts

James Gray and Michael Bork had robbed Beeman’s sister-in-law of more than $100,000 in jewelry. Sometime thereafter, Beeman was arrested in connection with the crime. Beeman and the two robbers gave entirely different accounts of the crime, with the robbers testifying that Beeman had actively supplied them with information on the victim’s home and advice on carrying out the robbery. Beeman’s testimony contradicted that of Gray and Bork in almost every material respect. The trial court refused to instruct the jury that purpose was the mental state required for liability for aiding and abetting. 14.3.3 Issue

Should the trial court have instructed the jury that Beeman could be convicted only if he was shown to have helped the robbers with purpose? 14.3.4 Holding

The trial court should have so instructed the jury.

73

14.3.5

Reasoning

It is a settled law that purpose is the requisite mens rea for aiding and abetting. Although an accomplice’s knowledge of the crime combined with his actions may sometimes give rise to an inference of purpose, the jury instruction given suggests that knowledge itself is sufficient to support a conviction. Although Beeman admits having given information to the robbers, he contends that he did so without any awareness of their criminal purpose. When plans for the robbery became apparent, Beeman tried to dissuade the duo from carrying out the crime and thought it was doubtful that they would. Beeman also claims that he took the stolen jewelry in an attempt to return it to the owner. Given that the jury expressed confusion as to the standard of liability for aiding and abetting, the trial court erred in refusing to given an instruction on purpose.

14.4
14.4.1

Wilson v. People
Overview

Wilson appealed a conviction for complicity in a burglary. 14.4.2 Facts

Wilson was eating at a local cafe when Pierce, the principal perpetrator, approached him. The two began chatting. Pierce had been drinking, and he asked Wilson where he could find more liquor. The two then purchased some liquor and returned to the cafe to drink it. By that point, Wilson had noticed that his watch had gone missing, and he accused Pierce of having stolen it. Pierce adamantly denied any such theft, and the argument became so heated that they were told to leave the cafe. They continued arguing at another cafe; Wilson later testified that he thought they would be thrown out from the second cafe as well. At some point during the discussion of the watch, Pierce evidently mentioned that he had committed burglaries before and that he and Wilson should burglarize a local drugstore. The two proceeded to the drugstore, where Wilson helped Pierce gain entry by boosting him through a transom. As soon as Pierce was inside, Wilson notified the police, who arrested Pierce. Wilson also admitted to the police that he had helped Pierce break into the premises. 74

14.4.3

Issue

Should Wilson be held liable as an accomplice to the burglary? 14.4.4 Holding

Wilson should not be held liable as an accomplice. 14.4.5 Reasoning

The law is clear that one cannot be held liable as an accomplice unless he shares the criminal intent of the principal. Here, there is evidence to support Wilson’s contention that he aided Pierce only for the purpose of bringing about Pierce’s arrest. The trial court erred by giving a jury instruction that declare, as a matter of judicial fiat, that anyone who lends assistance to the principal, regardless of his mental state, is guilty as an accomplice. The trial court should have explained to the jury the requirement of intent.

14.5
14.5.1

State v. Etzweiler
Overview

Etzweiler appealed a conviction for complicity in negligent homicide. 14.5.2 Facts

Etzweiler had driven to work with Bailey, one of his colleagues. Upon reaching the destination, Etzweiler went to work, leaving his car for Bailey to use. Bailey, who was intoxicated, drove off. About ten minutes later, he collided with another car and killed two passengers in the other car. 14.5.3 Issue

Should Etzweiler be liable for complicity in negligent homicide? 14.5.4 Holding

Etzweiler should not be liable for complicity in negligent homicide.

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14.5.5

Reasoning

The relevant statute provides that one cannot be guilty of complicity in a crime unless he assists the principal with the purpose of furthering the crime. The requirement of intent is at odds with the definition of negligent homicide. By definition, a negligent homicide is one in which the principal does not know the risk of death. It would absurd to say that Etzweiler intentionally helped to bring about a death whose occurrence he could not even foresee. In any case, Etzweiler’s conduct is too remote from the accident to make him liable. He was not in the car when Bailey collided with the other vehicle. All that Etzweiler did was to let Bailey use the car.

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