State v. Brown

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Brown went to Whitehead’s apartment and requested that Whitehead come outside. Whitehead recognized Brown and followed him downstairs. As they reached an exterior door, Brown pointed a gun at Whitehead and fired. Whitehead fell as he ran into the building, believing he had been shot. He had a hole in his shirt and a graze on his back. Whitehead was injured when he fell against a door, which was hit by the bullet. The state charged Brown, as a persistent offender, with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. The court's first-degree assault instruction asked the jury to determine whether Brown “attempted to kill or cause serious physical injury to Dylan Whitehead by shooting at him.” The second-degree assault instruction asked the jury to determine whether Brown “attempted to cause physical injury to Dylan Whitehead by means of a deadly weapon by shooting at him.” Both provided a person “attempts” to cause a certain result when they act “with the purpose” of causing that result. The court refused Brown’s instruction for third-degree assault, which would have required the jury to determine whether Brown “recklessly created a grave risk of death or serious physical injury to Dylan Whitehead by shooting at him.” The jury convicted Brown of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. The Missouri Supreme Court reversed. The trial court's error in failing to instruct the jury on third-degree assault was prejudicial. There is a basis in the evidence from which the jury could conclude Brown recklessly created a grave risk of death or serious physical injury. View "State v. Brown" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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