Sunday, November 17, 2013

People v. Weiss case brief

People v. Weiss case brief summary
12 N.E.2d 514 (1938)

Appellants challenged their kidnapping convictions from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the second judicial department (New York), asserting that under N.Y. Penal Law § 1250, they were entitled to offer evidence of intent in regards to acting within the authority of the law.

Appellants seized an individual suspected of committing murder in order to bring him to justice. As a result of this action, appellants were convicted of kidnapping under N.Y. Penal Law § 1250. In an effort to overturn their convictions, appellants argued that the trial court impermissibly ruled against the introduction of evidence, which supported their innocence. Specifically, appellants contended that they acted with the mental state believing they were under the authority of law.


  • The Court of Appeals agreed, and set aside the verdict requiring a new trial. 
  • The Court held that if appellants could prove they acted in good faith, such evidence might bar penal liability for kidnapping.

The Court of Appeals set aside the verdict convicting appellants of kidnapping where they were entitled to the production of evidence showing that they seized a suspect with the authority of law. Essentially, they were entitled to proof regarding their good faith intent.

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