Key Concepts: mens rea defenses: involuntary intoxication and provocation doctrine

  : In a narrative format for the Complete section, construct one essay which addresses the following points: The minimum requirements for Completes are four (5) scholarly sources including at least one peer reviewed journal article (one published within the last seven years). I expect perfect APA technique and a minimum of 1,700 words of content overall, not including the references section. 

Key Concepts: mens rea defenses: involuntary intoxication and provocation doctrine

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Capstone Cases: Montana v. Egelhoff, Carter v. State, Commonwealth v. Schnopps, People v. McCarthy, 547 N. E. 2d 459 (Ill. 1989) and Girouard v. State, 583 A. 2d 718 (Md. App. 1991).

The narrative essay should clearly define the key concepts of  mens rea defenses, specifically the involuntary intoxication and provocation doctrin­­­­e and will apply these principles to the Capstone cases of Montana v. Egelhoff, Carter v. State, Commonwealth v. Schnopps, People v. McCarthy, and Girouard v. State. Your response will include the overview of the cases and will also need to address each question or statement listed below in an essay format.

In the Capstone case of Montana v. Egelhoff, on July 1992, while camping out in the Yaak region of northwestern Montana, Respondent Egelhoff made friends with Roberta Pavola and John Christenson. On Sunday, July 12, the three spent much of the day and evening drinking, in bars and at a private party. At about midnight that night, officers of the Lincoln County, Montana, sheriff’s department, responding to reports of a possible drunk driver, discovered Christenson’s station wagon stuck in a ditch along U.S. Highway 2. In the front seat were Pavola and Christenson, each dead from a single gunshot to the head. In the rear of the car lay Egelhoff, alive and yelling obscenities. His blood-alcohol content measured .36 percent over one hour later. After being charged with two counts of homicide, Engelhoff attempted to assert an intoxication defense, but this was denied by the trial court. How does a claim that (a) an intoxicated defendant should not be held responsible for his or her criminal activity because of the inability to form the requisite mens rea for a specific crime differ from the claim that (b) an intoxicated defendant should be excused because he or she had lowered inhibitions and impaired judgment as a consequence of ingesting alcohol?

Do both claims carry the same moral weight?

Do you believe that, as a matter of fundamental due process rights, a defendant should be given the opportunity to present “all relevant evidence to rebut the State’s evidence on all elements of the offense charged”? Why or why not?

Read the Court’s opinion in Carter v. State, 710 So. 2d 110 (Fla. App. 1998). Based on this opinion, explain why involuntary intoxication is treated differently from voluntary intoxication as a criminal defense.

In the Capstone case of Commonwealth v. Schnopps, on October 13, 1979, Marilyn R. Schnopps was fatally shot by her estranged husband George A. Schnopps. A jury convicted Schnopps of murder in the first degree, and he was sentenced to the mandatory term of life imprisonment. Schnopps claims that the trial judge erred by refusing to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter. Schnopps claimed that he was provoked into killing his wife after learning of her marital infidelity. Were the wife’s comments so shocking as to be tantamount to the defendant’s actually catching her in an adulterous act with her lover?

What are the implications of extending the provocation doctrine in infidelity cases from actually witnessing a spouse committing adultery to learning about it verbally?

Read the two other “provocation” cases in your textbook—People v. McCarthy, 547 N. E. 2d 459 (Ill. 1989) and Girouard v. State, 583 A. 2d 718 (Md. App. 1991)—where defendants asserted victim provocation as mitigation against homicide charges. What conditions or circumstances do the courts identify as being adequate enough to constitute possible reduced charges in homicide cases?

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