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In his first argument, the defendant argued that the state failed to promptly obtain and test his blood sample for alcohol concentration. As a consequence that failure violated his due process rights. He said investigators acted in faith by waiting more than 12 hours after the crimes occurred before drawing blood. His argument was that it deprived him of exculpatory evidence of voluntary intoxication.
He also argues that even without bad faith, a combination of extreme negligence by investigators and collecting blood, and the resulting prejudice to his defense, requires reversal of his conviction. He failed to object on this ground the trial. Therefore, the reviewing court will look to see whether or not doors plain error. However, in order for there to be reversal, the defendant must show that the plain error or obvious error affected the outcome of the proceeding.
Evidence indicated that the defendant was a problem drinker. He had been drinking on the morning he committed the crimes. In the early morning hours, the defendant had stopped by the home of two friends and asked them to go hog hunting. They testified that he saw a bottle of rum and drink it. He smelled of alcohol and was slurring his speech.
The officer who arrested the defendant notice that he smelled of alcohol. Another officer testified that the defendant passed out from drinking alcohol.
The defendant also presented expert testimony concerning his alcoholism his potential level of intoxication during the crimes. The evidence included testimony that the defendant had pooped in his pants and attempted to clean himself off near the victim’s house.
An investigator also testified that when he first requested that the defendant provide a blood sample, he refused. So, police obtain a warrant to draw his blood. Testimony revealed that there was no detectable alcohol in the blood sample. The defendant’s blood alcohol level the time of the crimes was not determined.
The primary question on plain error review is whether the error has plainly or obviously occurred. Under Oklahoma law, voluntary intoxication does not make a criminal act less criminal. However voluntary intoxication may affect a homicide crime. For instance, it may reduce a homicide from first-degree murder to second-degree murder. It also can reduce the homicide to first-degree manslaughter, but only when the defendant is so utterly intoxicated that his mental powers are overcome, rendering it impossible for the defendant to form the specific criminal intent that is part of the crime.
The US Supreme Court is held that when the state, its agents, or the prosecution suppress or failed to disclose material exculpatory evidence, the may have violated the defendant’s right to due process of law. This is regardless of good faith or bad faith on their part. Official destruction of evidence, when it’s exculpatory evidence is apparent before destruction can also violate due process when it leaves the defendant unable to obtain comparable evidence by other reasonable available means.
The US Supreme Court addressed this issue in Arizona vs. Youngblood, said Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale. Supreme Court held that a different rule would apply where the state destroys or fails to preserve evidence of which no more can be said than it could have been subjected to tests, the results of which might have exonerated the defendant. Unless the defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, failure to preserve potential useful evidence does not constitute a denial due process. Six years later, the Supreme Court held that neither the pending discovery request nor the centrality of the evidence to the prosecution’s case and the defendants did away with the showing of bad faith required by Youngblood. The bad faith requirement rests instead on the distinction between material exculpatory evidence and potentially useful evidence.
In the present case, the reviewing court found of evidence of bad faith by the investigators. The defendant himself created some delay when he refused to give a blood sample. Even so, there is no indication that a test of defendant’s blood would’ve enabled him to exonerate himself. Even assuming that the failure to properly collect a blood sample was error, it did not affect the outcome of the trial. Call around for the best Tulsa criminal defense attorney and check out CaleLawOffice.com.
There was overwhelming evidence against the defendant. This evidence included the defendant’s fabrications, attempt to assess blame on others, and his ability to recall details about the crime scene. Further, the defendant was able to argue that drunkenness another fax raised a reasonable doubt of malice aforethought. Additionally he is able to show that the failure to preserve better intoxication evidence was due to police incompetence.
In his second argument, the defendant claimed that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for first-degree murder. He admitted that he that he unlawfully killed the victims. However he argued that the evidence failed to show essential element of malice aforethought. The reviewing court looked as to whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential home of the crime charge be on the beyond a reasonable doubt, said Tulsa criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale.
Malice aforethought can be manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. The design to cause death or intent to kill may be inferred from the fact of killing itself… Circumstances raise a reasonable doubt as to whether such design existed. The light most favorable to the state, the evidence in this case shows an unprovoked, early-morning attack of the victims and the role home. The defendant carried his rifle and entered through a garage. He struck the victims with several blows.
Relevant evidence is evidence having any tendency to make the existence of a fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence. It doesn’t have to be conclusive or directly est. Guild if, when taken with other evidence in the case, it tends to establish a material fact in issue. Relevant evidence can be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. Whether evidence is relevant or material is within the sound discretion of the trial court. Don’t be a knuckle head. You better hire the best Tulsa criminal defense attorney.