Saturday, August 25, 2007
From newsday.com: Touro Law Center CrimProf Richard Klein recently discussed intoxication and acquittal of murder charges in relation to a New York state appellate court's decision to reverse the murder conviction of a Coram man whose stabbing of a 20-year-old woman was caught on a tape of her 911 call, ruling that the jury should have been allowed to consider the man's drunkenness when deciding whether he intended to kill her.
CrimProf Klein said although a defendant cannot be acquitted of murder if found to be drunk, the law does allow a juror to consider intoxication in finding reasonable doubt and could reduce the crime to manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
"It's very rare, but it does occur," said Klein. "Most jurors will say that the defendant got themselves intentionally intoxicated, and he's responsible for whatever resulted."
Klein said the reversal should not be a major hurdle in convicting Smith again, as long as a judge properly instructs jurors. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]