Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Leopold case brief

State v. Leopold case brief summary
147 A. 118 (1929)

Defendant appealed his conviction in a jury trial in the Superior Court in New Haven County (Connecticut) for murder.

Defendant was accused of employing someone to set a fire to a building for the purpose of collecting the insurance. Two boys were killed in the fire, and defendant was convicted of murder.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed. 
  • Various remarks scattered throughout a trial of many days were not of sufficient importance to have justified the trial court in declaring a mistrial. 
  • The trial court correctly charged the jury that the negligence of the victims of a crime did not diminish or nullify the crime and that even if the jury found defendant's claim as to the conduct of these boys in returning to the burning building to be true, defendant would not thereby be excused. 
  • The trial court properly told the jury that motive was not a necessary element of the crime charged and that the State was not required to prove one but that defendant claimed that he could have had no motive to commit the crime. 
  • The charge properly presented to the jury defendant's claims as to an absence of motive. 
  • A charge as to whether the accused employed someone to set the fire made it clear to the jury that the burden was upon the State to prove that fact beyond a reasonable doubt.

The court affirmed defendant's conviction for murder.

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