Sunday, November 17, 2013

People v. Watkins case brief

People v. Watkins case brief summary
586 P.2d 43 (1993)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant sought review of a decision by the District Court, Fourth Judicial District (Colorado), which convicted him of second-degree murder and of first-degree assault.

CASE FACTS
Following a jury trial, the trial court convicted defendant of second-degree murder and first-degree assault. Defendant claimed that the trial court's refusal to give instructions to the jury relating to lesser-included offenses under the circumstances of this case was error.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court reversed, holding that the trial court erred in failing to give defendant's tendered instruction on criminally negligent homicide. 
  • The court noted that defendant testified that he possessed a good faith belief that his and his brother's lives were in danger. 
  • The court found that defendant's evidence, even if improbable or unreasonable, entitled defendant to an instruction on criminally negligent homicide. 
  • The court determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that defendant caused "serious bodily injury" as required for first-degree assault pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-202 (Supp. 1977). 
  • The court noted that the evidence showed that the victim had been shot and wounded by defendant. 
  • The court concluded that it was within the province of the jury to determine the degree of the injury.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the judgment of the trial court, which convicted defendant of second-degree murder and first-degree assault. The court remanded the case to the trial court for a new trial.


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