McQuirter v. State: Mrs Allen and her kids started home, D was parked in a truck. As she passed, D mumbled something and opened the door. As she went down the street he followed her until he saw Mr. Simmons. She waited on Mr. Simmon’s porch and D left. The police testify that D told them that he was drunk and made up his mind that he was going to take the first woman that came his way. But later he denied these statements and said he was deciding whether to return to the “front” or not. Court holds that the evidence in this case is sufficient to warrant the submission of the question of D’s guilt to the jury and was ample to sustain the judgment of conviction.
Problems with Proof: Why do we have to be Careful About Attempts: PROOF! There is no better proof of what you intended then that you actually did it! But in the McQuirter’s case, there is proof he wanted to do something but it is not really reliable – this case took place in AL in 1953. He’s black and Mrs Allen is white.
Thus with attempt you have to make sure that the stuff D has done is sufficient to prove his intent to actually carry out the crime.
MPC § 5.0 (2): Conduct Which May Be Held Substantial Step Under Subsection 1(c). Conduct shall NOT be held to not constitute a substantial steps under Subsection 1(c) unless it is strongly corroborative of the actor’s criminal purpose.
The Equivocality Test: As an alternative to the “dangerous proximity test” that looks NOT to how far the defendant has gone but how clearly his act bespeak his intent. (This test has FEW adherents but has influenced the MPC proposal).
A criminal attempt is an act which shows criminal intent on the face of it. The case must be one in which Res Ipsa Loquitur. That a man’s unfulfilled criminal purposes should be punishable they must be manifested not by his words merely or by acts which are in themselves of innocent or ambiguous significance, but by overt acts which are sufficient in themselves to declare and proclaim the guilty purpose with which they are done.