Thursday, November 21, 2013

State v. Shock case brief

State v. Shock case brief summary
68 Mo. 552 (1878)

Defendant appealed a judgment of the Circuit Court of Callaway County (Missouri), which convicted him of murder in the first degree and sentenced him to be hanged. Stay of execution was awarded pending the appeal.

Defendant contended that the trial court erred in giving a jury instruction that if the jury believed that it was not the intention of defendant o kill the child by whipping him, but that he intended to do him great bodily harm and death ensued, he was guilty of murder in the first degree. The court reversed the judgment and remanded the case.

  • The court held as follows: 
  • 1) the words "other felony" used in Mo. Rev. Code, Crimes and Punishments, § 1 (1845) referred to some collateral felony, and not to those acts of personal violence to the deceased which were necessary and constituent elements of the homicide itself, and were, therefore, merged in it; 
  • 2) the infliction of great bodily harm was, by the statute, only made a felony when death did not ensue, and when, if it had ensued, the whole offense, including the infliction of the bodily harm, would constitute either murder or manslaughter; and 
  • 3) the jury might properly have been instructed as to the law of murder in the first degree, on the theory of a willful, deliberate and premeditated killing, and also as to the law of manslaughter in the fourth degree.

The court reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the case for a new trial.

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