Friday, September 14, 2012

U.S. v. Fleming case brief

      • US v. Fleming-  ∆ with a blood alcohol level of .315% drove for several miles at excessive speeds and at time on the other side of the road to avoid traffic. He lost his control and hit another vehicle head on killing the driver. He contended that he was only guilty of manslaughter.
        • 2nd degree murder doesn’t require intent
        • The mental state required for murder is malice aforethought which does not require intent. It may also be satisfied by wanton conduct grossly deviating from a reasonable standard of care such that ∆ aware of serious risk of death or harm. ∆’s drunk and reckless driving was considered malice aforethought b/c of its reckless nature and the ∆ knew he was in no position to be driving.
          • The distinction b/w involuntary manslaughter and 2nd degree murder is not clear but depends heavily on the risk of harm and the ∆ awareness.
          • The court is trying to maintain distinction b/w murder and manslaughter
        • A majority of courts have held, usually in drunk driving cases, that egregiously dangerous driving can support a murder conviction.
          • SEE Pear v. State(Alaska) and People v. Watson (CA)
        • NOTE: How does this fit w/ MPC if for murder ∆ is required to act “recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference…” §210.2(1)(b)???
          • Is ∆ liable for inadvertent murder then??? Nope, must be grounded in subjective culpability of actor

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