Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ford v. Ford case brief

Ford v. Ford case brief
307 Md. 105, 512 A.2d 389 (1986)

CASE SYNOPSIS: Appellant alternative beneficiary challenged a judgment of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County (Maryland), which held that appellee insane killer was entitled to obtain the property that was left to her under her victim's will.

FACTS: The insane killer stabbed her mother to death. She then sought to obtain the property left to her under her mother's will. The alternative beneficiary named in the will asserted that the killer forfeited the entitlement to the property by the matricide. The orphans' court held that the alternative beneficiary was the heir of the estate, but the circuit court decided that the killer was entitled to the property. Upon further review, the court held that the slayer's rule, which precluded a killer from being enriched by the reason of his or her criminal conduct, did not operate to preclude the killer from inheriting under the will of her mother in this case. The court determined that the slayer's rule was not applicable where the killer was not criminally responsible for her conduct at the time she committed the homicide. Although the court reached the same conclusion that the circuit court did, it disagreed with the circuit court's reasoning that no crime was committed because the killer was criminally insane at the time of the homicide. The court found that permitting the killer to share in the distribution of her victim's assets was consistent with the principles of equity.

CONCLUSION: The court affirmed the judgment that the insane killer was entitled to obtain the property that was left to her under her victim's will.

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