Thursday, September 6, 2012

Patterson v. New York case brief

  1. Patterson v. New York (US 1977)
    1. Δ is charged with murder (killing a person, intending to do so); NY affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance (Δ has to prove by preponderance)
    2. Δ went to SC, claiming that imposing this burden on him violated Mullaney
      • claim that this burden is the modern phrasing of the “heat of passion” defense in Mullaney – still the same basic paradigm, Δ shouldn’t have burden of proving it
    3. holding: unlike in Mullaney, elements of crime and elements of defense can coexist here – state must still prove elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt
      • putting on Δ burden of proving an affirmative defense isn’t asking Δ to negative any element of the crime
    4. policy rationale: NY really expanded the number of defenses over traditional penal law standards; this is ameliorative, and we want to encourage this
      • if we force NY to assume burden of disproving defense beyond a reasonable doubt as a price of creating the defense, state will likely decide not to create the defense.

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