Monday, May 7, 2012

Gilbert J. Comber v. United States case brief

Gilbert J. Comber v. United States
District of Columbia Court of Appeals, 12/21/1990

-D (Comber) struck Joseph Pinkney once in the face with his bare fists. Joseph Pickney was D’s sister’s partner, and on the night in question he was drunk."
-The punch to the face cause subarachnoid brain hemorrhaging in a part of the brain which controls the heart and lungs.
-Mr . Butler was hit by D2, Hayward, in the jaw. Mr. Butler fell into the street, hit his head, and lost consciousness.
-Mr. Butler got up later and re-approached D2, who again hit MR. Butler. Mr. Butler again fell and hit the back of his head on the curb.
-Geriel Butler died from the back of his head hitting the curb.

Whether the jury instructions were appropriate for manslaughter without the instruction for involuntary manslaughter?


-Consolidated cases of Appellants Comber and Hayward (similar fact patterns and identical offenses).
-Reversed and remanded.

-Voluntary Manslaughter is a killing committed with intent to kill or do serious bodily injury, or with conscious disregard of an extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury, where malice is absent.
-Involuntary Manslaughter is a killing committed, resulting during the commission of a misdemeanor, which entails the reasonable foreseeable risk of appreciable physical injury.

-The instructions given to each of the Ds lacked clarification as to whether the death was a freakish result of a harmless misdemeanor or foreseeable risk of bodily injury, not amounting to serious bodily injury with malice, or intent to kill.
-In both cases the jury was not given a clear charge of the range of culpability statutes available.

Link to case: Gilbert J. Comber v. United States

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