Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Midgett v. State case brief

Midgett v. State case brief summary
292 Ark. 278

SYNOPSIS: Defendant appealed the judgement of the Craighead Circuit Court (Arkansas), which convicted him of first degree murder in the death of his son. Defendant alleged that the state's evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction due to his lack of premeditation and deliberation.

OVERVIEW:
-The evidence showed defendant brutally beat his son over a substantial period of time.
-The son died.
-The medical examiner concluded death was the beating by a human fist.
-Defendant was convicted of first degree murder.

HOLDING:
-The court affirmed as modified by reducing the sentence second degree murder and imprisonment for 20 years. -The court held that the evidence supported only the conclusion that defendant intended not to kill his son but to further abuse him or that his intent, if it was to kill the child, was developed in a drunken, heated, rage while disciplining the son.

ANALYSIS:
-The court agreed with defendant that in spite of all the evidence of child abuse there was no evidence that the death was premeditated and deliberated.
-The court found that in a case of child abuse of long duration the jury could have inferred that the defendant came not to expect death of the son, but rather that the son would live so that the abuse may continue.
-The jury was forced to speculate on defendant's intention before acting and weighing the consequences of a course of conduct.
-The evidence supported only the conclusion that defendant intended not to kill his son but to further abuse him or that his intent, if it was to kill the child, was developed in a drunken, heated, rage while disciplining the son.
-Neither of those supported a finding of premeditation or deliberation.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the conviction of defendant for murder. However, the court modified the conviction from first degree to second degree and reduced his imprisonment to 20 years.

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