Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Iron Shell case brief

United States v. Iron Shell case brief summary
633 F.2d 77 (8th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 1001 (1981)

Defendant appealed from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, which convicted him of assault with intent to commit rape in violation of the Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1153.

Defendant appealed his assault with intent to commit rape conviction, challenging evidentiary rulings and the failure to instruct the jury on an assault charge, and alleging that the Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1153, violated the U. S. Constitutional XIV equal protection clause.


  • The court ruled that the victim's statements to a doctor regarding what happened were admissible under Fed. R. Evid. 803(4) because they were pertinent to diagnosis and treatment, and statements to a police officer an hour after the assault were admissible under Rule 803(2). 
  • The U. S. Constitutional Amendment VI confrontation clause was not violated because the statements had sufficient indicia of reliability. 
  • Denial of the instruction on the assault by striking charge was proper because it required physical contact and was not a lesser included offense. 
  • The Act did not violate equal protection because defendant was entitled to an instruction on a state child molestation charge, but declined.

The court affirmed defendant's conviction of assault with intent to commit rape because victim's statements to doctor were pertinent to diagnosis, statements to police officer one hour after assault were excited utterances, and denial of jury instruction on assault by striking was proper because it was not lesser included offense.

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