Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Hunter case brief

State v. Hunter case brief summary
740 P.2d 559 (1987)

Defendant appealed the ruling of the Thomas District Court (Kansas), which entered judgment on a jury verdict that found defendant guilty of two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, and one count of aggravated battery.

Defendant contended, inter alia, that the trial judge committed reversible error by refusing his requested instruction on his defense of compulsion and that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a change of venue.

  • The court overturned defendant's conviction, finding that: 
  • (1) defendant failed to demonstrate that his defense was prejudiced because important evidence was excluded at his joint trial with co-defendants; 
  • (2) defendant failed to prove that there was such prejudice in the county that he reasonably could not have received a fair trial; 
  • (3) the trial court did not err in refusing defendant's proposed jury instruction on aiding and abetting, where the court's instruction clearly informed the jury that proof of mere association was insufficient to convict defendant; 
  • (4) defendant was not precluded from asserting a compulsion defense denying commission of a crime where the compulsion issue was raised by the evidence; and
  • (5) the trial court committed reversible error in refusing to instruct the jury on defendant's theory of compulsion, as defendant was entitled to the instruction even though the evidence was slight and supported only by defendant's testimony.

The court reversed defendant's conviction and remanded the cause for a new trial.

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