Sunday, November 17, 2013

Smith v. State case brief

Smith v. State case brief summary
614 P.2d 300 (1980)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant sought review of his conviction by the Superior Court of the State of Alaska for shooting with intent to kill, wound, or maim in violation of Alaska Stat. § 11.15.150 (repealed). The trial court found that defendant was sane beyond a reasonable doubt pursuant to Alaska Stat. § 12.45.083(a),(b) (act).

CASE FACTS
Defendant, an army private, commandeered a vehicle at gunpoint, and after being chased by police shot and seriously wounded a judicial services officer. At trial, the only defense was that defendant innocent by reason of insanity. Evidence from two psychiatrists and one psychologist was not in agreement.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court lacked sufficient evidence to find him sane beyond a reasonable doubt. 
  • The court noted that pursuant to the act, defendant was not responsible, if at the time of the conduct, as a result of mental disease or defect, he lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law. 
  • All of the evidence pointed to a finding that defendant had the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct, so that the focus of review was on whether he had substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. 
  • The court affirmed, and determined that the trial court could have been persuaded that the testimony of the prosecution expert was most compelling and that defendant was sane beyond a reasonable doubt.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed defendant's conviction for shooting with intent to kill, wound or maim.


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