November 27 Notes and Briefs

November 27 Notes and Briefs - 3 Intoxication Two legally...

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November 27, 2008 3. Intoxication Two legally relevant forms of intoxication in the criminal law: Voluntary and Involuntary Voluntary intoxication neither exonerates nor excuses criminal conduct. Commonwealth v. Graves Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 1975 Law: Facts: D and his cousins had a pre-conceived plan to burglarize a 75 year old man and rob him. During the course of the robbery and burglary, man sustained injuries which resulted in his death. A professional psychiatrist determined D was under the influence of wine and LSD tablets and stated that he couldn’t form the intent to take a life. Evidence of intoxication becomes relevant if the degree of inebriation has reached that point where the mind was incapable of attaining the state of mind required. Reasoning: The evidence of intoxication offered for the purpose of negating the presence of specific intent may not be used in cases other then felonious homicide, is rejected. Issue: It is argued that the trial court erred in refusing a request to charge the jury that if they found Graves incapable of forming the intent to commit burglary or robbery because of the consumption of wine or ingestion of the drug, or both, he could not be guilty of these offences. Procedure: Convicted for first degree murder, robbery and burglary. TC concluded that evidence of intoxication was irrelevant as to the robbery and burglary charges. Holding: Reversed. Notes from the Case: Because of your intoxication (drugs or alcohol) there may be a problem to form the mens rea needed for the crime Charged with specific intent crimes Doesn’t remember what happened and became unconscious Asks the ultimate issue, prosecution objects because the jury is supposed to decide, so if Dr testifies to that, they will just follow what he says. Defence will lower the crime, but the crime will remain as murder, lower the severity of the crime, can lower a first degree charge to a second degree charge, but for this case, there is nothing to bring him down to, the VI would act as a full acquittal Court is saying that you have to have a mens rea VI will be a defence to any specific intent crime Dissent Problem: because he took the wine and LSD voluntarily, it’s not right because it seems like a reward for bad behaviour and there is an issue of personal responsibility, and a problem
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November 27 Notes and Briefs - 3 Intoxication Two legally...

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