CrimProf Blog

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

CrimProf Michael Hoffheimer Discusses Depraved Heart Murder With Police Officer Dragging

Hoffheimer_1From University of Mississippi CrimProf Michael Hoffheimer discusses whether the actions of a University of Mississippi student in the dragging death of a campus police officer constitutes a "depraved heart" murder eventhough he was intoxicated.

Daniel Cummings, 20, of Germantown, Tenn., was arrested early Saturday morning, shortly after Officer Robert Langley was thrown to the pavement while trying to stop Cummings from driving away from a traffic stop on the Ole Miss campus, according to a Justice Court affidavit sworn by Lt. Walter Davis of MBI, the state's crime investigation agency.

Toxicology results would not likely change the charge, said Michael Hoffheimer, an Ole Miss criminal law professor. "Intoxication is not a defense to murder in Mississippi."

Hoffheimer said that given a lack of premeditated intent to kill a specific person, as MBI's Davis' affidavit contends, prosecutors would face a difficult challenge to prove murder, but it would still be possible, Hoffheimer said.

They "would basically have to prove that the defendant acted with a depraved heart with indifference to human life," he said, essentially the way Davis described the crime.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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