Wednesday, February 27, 2013

People v. Kurr case brief

People v. Kurr case brief summary
253 Mich. App. 317

SYNOPSIS: Defendant was convicted in the Kalamazoo Circuit Court (Michigan) of voluntary manslaughter. She challenged her conviction.

-Defendant claimed that she stabbed the victim, her boyfriend, in defense of her unborn children.
-The trial court disallowed a defense of others instruction, noting that the fetuses were not viable. Defendant claimed that she was denied her right to present a defense.
-The court agreed and reversed and remanded.

The court held that, in Michigan, the defense of others extended to the protection of a nonviable fetus from an assault against the mother.

-The court emphasized that the defense was available solely in this context, and the court based its decision on the public policy as stated in the Fetal Protection Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.90a et seq.
-The court further held that a mother, under certain circumstances, was entitled to use deadly force to protect her fetus, even if she did not fear for her own life.
-Because the trial court did not allow defendant the defense of others instruction, defendant was deprived of her right to present a defense pursuant to Mich. Const. art. I, § 13 and U.S. Constitution: VI, XIV.
-Thus, a new trial was required.

OUTCOME: The court reversed defendant's conviction and remanded for a new trial.

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