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Chapter 5

CRM/LAW C144 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Blood Alcohol Content, Change Clothes, Blood Test

Criminology, Law and Society
Course Code
James Meeker

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Regina v. Smith (David)
Damage to property
The defendant in prepping to leave his rented apartment damaged some wall panels in order to retrieve
radio wiring he had installed earlier with the permission of the landlord
Charged with violating the criminal damage act
oA person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another
intending to destroy or damage any such property should be guilty of an offense
Defense: How can he be charged for damaging his own property? He was the one install those panels
He was convicted
oBelief that the defendant had the right to do what he did is not a lawful excuse, In law he had
not right to do so (according to the Act)
Appeal: The mental element in the offence relates only to causing damage or to destroying property.
The defendant did not intend or foresee to damage someone else’s property
The court of appeal reversed
Cheek v United State
A pilot for American Airlines was convicted of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns for a
number of years. Violation of a statue that provides that any person is guilty of a felony who willfully
attempts on any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment of thereof”
Defense: Based on information he received from a group opposing the institution of taxation, he
sincerely believed that under tax laws he owed no taxes, including taxes on his wages, and that if he
did, these laws were unconstitutional
Jury: Could not reach a verdict because we are divided on the issue as to if the defendant honestly and
reasonably believed that he was not required to pay income taxes
Trial Judge: Instructed the jury that an honest but unreasonable belief is not a defense and does not
negate willfulness. Advice or researcher provided to the defendant which led him to believe that
taxation was not necessary and unconstitutional is not objectively reasonable and cannot serve as the
basis for a good faith of misunderstanding of the law defense
oPersistent refusal to acknowledge the law does not constitute a good faith for
misunderstanding the law
Appeal: Appealed the trial judge with error
Justice White (opinion of the court)
oGeneral rule that ignorance of the law or a mistake of law is no defense to criminal
prosecution. Law is definite and knowledgeable
oCheek challenges that ruling, a good faith belief that one is not violating the law
oThe standard for statutory willfulness requirement is the voluntary, intentional violation of a
known legal duty
Note on willfully and knowingly
United States v. Ansaldi
Defendant was charged with selling the chemical compound GBL, which is listed a controlled
substance because when metabolized by the human body, it is converted to a rape-date drug.
Statue: it is unlawful to knowingly or intentionally distribute a controlled substance
Defense: He knew he was selling GBL but did not know it was a controlled substance.
Lambert v. California

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Justice Douglas delivered the opinion of the court
Convicted person: Any person who has been or hereafter is convicted of an offense punishable as a
felony in the state of CA.
It is unlawful for any convicted person to be or remain in Los Angeles for a period or more than five
days without registering
The failure to register makes in a continuing offense, each day’s failure constitute a separate offense
California penal Code
Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought
Malice: The state of mind that accompanies the intentional doing of a wrongful act without
New York Penal Law
Homicide means conduct which causes the death of a person under circumstances constituting murder,
manslaughter in the first degree, second degree or criminally negligent homicide.
Commonwealth v. Carroll
Premeditation-Deliberation Formula
Defendant pleaded guilty generally to an indictment charging him with the murder of his wife
Tried by a judge without a jury
Court found him guilty of first degree murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment
Appeal; His conviction should be changed to a second degree murder (murder without premedication
and deliberation)
oThere was insufficient time for premeditated
oArgues that a long time is needed to find premeditation in a good man
oThe enourmous difficulty to conceal and clean up the crime, lacking and escape plan, makes it
legally impossible to find premeditation
oDoctor opinion: Murder as an impulse
Due to family issues, deceased wife urged the defendant to return home early from tour and retire
from Army
Wife suffered from a mental disorder, which can allegedly be attributed to a skull fracture she received
when leaving the defendants car after an argument
Underwent physiciatric treatment, complained of nervousness and claimed that she felt like hurting
her children
Did discipline her children
Nonetheless, doctors released her saying she was good to be back into society
Defendant was selected to attend an electronics school which required him to leave nine days
This upset the wife and she reacted in a violent manner
Prior to departure, wife insisted that the defendant place a loaded .22 calibre on the window sill so she
could feel safe
Defendant returned home and told his wife that he had been temporarily assigned to teach at a school
that would require him to leave for 4/7 nights for 10 weeks
Violent argument burst and continued until 4 in the morning
Defendants statement;
oWent into bedroom, continued to argue in short outburst
oDefendant became angrier with the comments the victim made of their children and himself.

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oHe then remembered about the gun over the window sill, victim seem to have dozed off’
oDefendant picked up the gun and brought it down, shot her twice on the back of the head
Defendant claimed that he started to think about his children and the abuse the had suffered from the
During the time of the incident he did not think or feel. He just thought of the gun. Did not feel his
hand move towards the gun he just felt it
Defendant wasn’t sure if he was aware of what he was doing, all he remembers hearing is the two
shots and then a feeling of going cold
Shortly after defendant wrapped up wifes body and took her down to the cellar
Tried to clean up then took the body to a desolate place. Took the children to his parents’ home
The specific intent to kill to constitute first degree murder, may be found from a defendants’ words or
conduct or from the attendant circumstances together with all the reasonable inferences
oConsidering evidence, it is sufficient to carry out a charge of first degree murder
The opinion of the doctor was largely based on statements made to them from the defendant himself
Defedants own statement after his arrest convicts him of first degree murder
There is no doubt that this was a willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder
Commonwealth v Tyrrell
oSociety would be almost completely unprotected from criminals of the law permitted a blind
or irresistible impulse justify a murder or reduce the severity of it
Judgement and sentence affirmed
Young v State
Premeditation and deliberation may be formed while the killer is pressing the trigger
State v. Guthrie
Defendant appeals the jury verdict that found him guilty of first degree murder. He was sentence to
life in prison with a recommendation of mercy
It is undisputed that the defendant removed a knife from his pocket and stabbed his coworker in the
neck and killed him.
Prior to the incident, both individuals worked together and got along pretty well
The night of the incident, the defendant and other coworkers were joking around
The victim was poking fun at the defendant who appeared to be in a bad mood
Told defendant to lighten up and snapped him with the towel several times. Victim had no idea he was
upsetting the defendant
Toweled flipped the defendant on the nose and he became enraged
Defendant removed his gloves and began to approach the victim
Still teasing him, the defendant pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed the victim in the neck
oAlso stabbed him in the arm
oAs he was falling, victim claimed he was just joking around, defendant said he should not
have hit him in the face
oThe victim suffers from a host of psychiatric problems (one of which include obsession with
his nose)
oTwo panic attacks daily and received treatment for them
Defendant testified he suffered from a heart attack immediately following the incident
Could not understand why he was being picked on
Could not bring himself to tell his coworkers to leave him alone or inform them about his panick
The defendant argues that his action did not meet the terms of willful, deliberate, and premeditation
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