815 S.W.2d 67
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Defendant appealed a judgment of the Circuit Court of Webster County (Missouri), which convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, and of the offense of armed criminal action, and which denied his motion for post conviction relief pursuant to Mo. R. Crim. P. 29.15.
OVERVIEW: The victims were driving, and they were hit by a van operated by defendant. One of the victims was killed and the other two were injured. Defendant exhibited signs of intoxication immediately after the accident, and he admitted to having been drinking heavily before the accident. Defendant also had several signs, stickers, and pins which contained statements containing drinking slogans, and which were found in the van. Defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and of armed criminal action. On appeal, the court reversed the judgment of the circuit court and remanded the case for a new trial for the offense of involuntary manslaughter only.
The court held that the subject signs, stickers, and pins were irrelevant and should not have been admitted into evidence.
The court found that (1) defendant's knowledge of the effect of alcohol on him was not an issue, (2) the drinking slogans were not relevant to the issue of whether defendant acted with criminal negligence, and (3) defendant's reputation was not in issue. The court held that the admission of the drinking slogans into evidence was prejudicial because the prosecuting attorney made extensive references to them.
OUTCOME: The court reversed the judgment of the circuit court inasmuch as it convicted defendant of involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action. The court remanded the case to the circuit court for a new trial for the offense of involuntary manslaughter only. The court dismissed defendant's appeal of the dismissal of his motion for post conviction relief.
Interested in learning how to get the top grades in your law school classes? Want to learn how to study smarter than your competition? Interested in transferring to a high ranked school?