A puzzle for Judge Marlin

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Pistolenschutze, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. OK, Marlin, what would your ruling be in this scenerio? :D Should Alice be sent up the river for attempted murder, or was she guilty--at most--of defacing a corpse? It's an interesting legal question, I think.

    The Attempted Murder of a Corpse.

    At 4:00 p.m. John goes to his study for his afterrnoon nap, as is his wont, lies down, and dies in his sleep at 4:10 p.m. At precisely 4:30 p.m. Alice sneaks into John's study, thinks he is alseep on the couch and stabs him thirteen times in the chest. Clearly, Alice hasn't murdered John since he was already dead. But is she guilty of attempted murder?
  2. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Location location
    Raises hand...Me Me Me!!!!!

  3. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    New Mexico
    Wow, well at the attempt is there!
  4. Lead Lobber

    Lead Lobber Former Guest

    Jan 3, 2007
    Central California coastal area
    Foul! Not fair, now I won't sleep tonight. I say no. Intent is there, true, but if one sneaks up on a corpse (not too tough) and manages to inflict damage? Come on! Let's get those Brittish sailors out of Iran. :D

    Last edited: Mar 30, 2007
  5. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

    Mar 27, 2003
    At SouthernMoss' side forever!
    Murder, or homicide as is generically called in many states under some of the revised criminal codes, can only apply is there was a living being as the victim who's life may be taken.

    She would be guilty of mutilating a corpse but neither of murder or the attempt thereof.
  6. Bruce FLinch

    Bruce FLinch New Member

    Aug 27, 2005
    Bay Point, Kali..aka Gun Point
    Alice stabbed John 13 times in the chest when he was already dead... So is Alice charged with a "misdeweiner"? :D :D
  7. I tend to agree, Marlin, but not all courts, it seems, would agree with you on this one. Indeed, there is precedent for charging Alice with attempted murder, specifically, a 1977 New York State case, People v. Dlugash.

    Facts of the case:
    A few days before Christmas, Joe Bush, Mike Geller, and Melvin Dlugash went out for drinks. Mel and Joe were friends. Joe had been staying at Mike's New York apartment and Mike asked him, several times during the course of the evening for $100 that he said Joe owed in back rent. Joe did not comply with Mike's request. Indeed at one point he turned to Mike and said "You better shut up, or you're going to get a bullet." Around midnight all three went to Mike's apartment where they continued their drinking until approximately 3:30 in the morning. When Mike asked again for his rent money, Joe pulled out a .38 caliber pistol and shot Mike three times. Two of the bullets hit Mike squarely in the chest, piercing his heart. A few minutes later Joe told Mel to fire some extra bullets into Mike's body. Mel took out his own .25 caliber pistol, walked over to Mike, who was lying on the floor, and fired five bullets into his head and face. Later, Mel said that by the time he fired the shots "it looked like Mike Geller was already dead." An autopsy later revealed that Mike was almost certainly dead when he was shot by Mel.

    In this case, the trial Court focused on what Mel intended or believed, not on what actually happened. If Mel believed Geller to be alive at the moment that he shot him, the Court ruled, he was guilty of attempted murder, even if Geller was in fact dead at the time. The Court reasoned that the mere fact that an act would not constitute a crime under the actual circumstances, will not save the defendant from an attempt conviction, if the defendant believed the circumstances were otherwise, and had the defendant's belief been correct, what the defendant set out to do would constitute a crime. The trial court's verdict was upheld on appeal. The Appeals Court's opinion in Dlugash decided that a person can be found guilty of an attempt "so long as the crime that was attempted could have been committed had the attendant circumstances been as the defendant believed them to be."

    I'm not sure I agree with that decision, though I can see where the jurists might be coming from. For example, unless we apply the same reasoning, a politician taking a bribe, or a drug dealer selling drugs, and caught in a so-called "sting" operation, could not be convicted since no actual "crime" was committed.

    Anyway, I thought it was an interesting legal quandry. :D
  8. clmanges

    clmanges New Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    NE Ohio
    She thought he was alive. Attempted murder. Period.
  9. catfish83861

    catfish83861 Active Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    North Idaho
    I just wonder how she caught him with that 20 year old model anyway.:D :( catfish
  10. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Just how often has he performed this particular act? :p

    Sorry, PS, just couldn't resist that.

    I still remember the headline, "Man shot in the trunk." We didn't find out until the third paragraph that the trunk was part of his '56 Chevy. :D

  11. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    Dec 14, 2003
    Alice was the name of the realdoll being stored in a certain somebodys car trunk...which the cops mistook for a corpse....
    Luckily the local newspaper didn't catch wind of the whole incident!!!!
    Neither the arresting officer nor the certain somebody cared to have light shed on the incident. :D

  12. Well, this particular case is often used as an example in law schools, so those attorney's probably resurrect the body several times a year. Gotta have a corpus delecti, you know. Can't tell one murder from another without a corpus delecti. :D ;) :p
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