Sunday, November 17, 2013

Van Buskirk v. State case brief

Van Buskirk v. State case brief summary
611 P.2d 271 (1980)

Defendant challenged a judgment from the District Court, Pontotoc County (Oklahoma), which convicted him of second-degree manslaughter in violation of Okla. Stat. title 21, § 716 (1971) and sentenced him to two years' imprisonment.

While driving down a rural road, defendant and her boyfriend argued. Defendant ordered him out of the car. The boyfriend was struck by defendant's vehicle, after which defendant drove off. He was later struck by another vehicle. Defendant claimed that she accidentally hit the victim. Defendant was convicted of manslaughter, and she appealed.

Defendant argued that the trial court incorrectly instructed the jury on manslaughter, failed to give certain other instructions to the jury, and that the evidence did not sufficiently support her conviction.


  • On appeal, the court held that a crime was committed when defendant abandoned the victim in a position of peril. 
  • Defendant could have reasonably anticipated that another vehicle might hit the victim; therefore, the jury was properly instructed on the charge of manslaughter as articulated in Okla. Stat. title. 21, § 716 (1971). 
  • No error resulted from the trial court's refusal to give defense-requested instructions because the instructions given adequately covered the subject matter. 
  • The court held the evidence supported her conviction.

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

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