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People v. Newton (1970)

Court of Appeal of the State of California - 87 Cal. Rptr. 394, 8 Cal. App. 3d 359

Contributed by ErieAndSpooky

Defendant was shot in abdomen, then shot and killed police officer while unconscious from shock of abdominal wound. Not guilty of homicide because unconscious

ICRA

Issue

Can defendant be held liable for criminal homicide committed while involuntarily unconscious?

Conclusion

No, the defendant cannot be held liable for the criminal homicide because his "reflex shock reaction" following his own gun wound rendered him unconscious at the time he acted.

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Rule

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Analysis

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum

Brief Facts & Holding

Facts

  • Huey P. Newton (defendant) was stopped by the police while driving and ordered to exit his vehicle.
  •  Once Newton exited the vehicle, an altercation ensued. 
  • Testimony from the prosecution alleges that Newton appeared to have drawn a gun, and in the struggle for its possession, the gun went off injuring Officer Heanes. 
  • As the struggle continued, Heanes shot Newton in the midsection.
  •  Newton then fired several shots at Officer Frey, before running away and arriving at a hospital emergency room shortly thereafter.  
  • Newton claims he did not carry a gun, but testified at trial that he remembered being shot by Frey and feeling a sensation like boiling soup had been spilled on his stomach. 
  • He testified that he then became unconscious or semiconscious, not regaining consciousness until he reached the hospital. 
  • Expert testimony corroborated his account, with Bernard Diamond, M.D. testifying that Newton’s recollections were compatible with the gunshot he had received.
  •  Diamond testified that gunshots to the abdominal cavity can cause a “reflex shock reaction” where it is not uncommon for one to lose consciousness for time up to a half an hour or so.  
  • The trial court judge did not instruct the jury on unconsciousness as a defense to a criminal homicide charge. 
  • Newton was found guilty and appealed.  

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Holding

  • Hey! This is the holding for Pennoyer v. Neff. It probably isn't the holding for the brief you're looking at. Join LSD+ for full access.
  • A named property within the court's jurisdiction is attached to satisfy an unrelated claim, despite the owner of said property being a non-resident of the state.
  • A named property within the court's jurisdiction is attached as the basis for the suit (e.g., to quiet title), despite the owner of said property being a non-resident of the state.
  • An individual is sued who is a resident of the state, or who has been served with process while physically located within the state.
  • jurisdiction - Neff is neither a resident, nor was served while within the state. Service by publication may be valid for an
  • proceeding, where the owner would be made aware of the suit due to their property being seized, but not for
  • jurisdiction - the action was on the basis of a suit to receive payment owed, and did not relate directly to a property within the state.
  • jurisdiction, as the Oregon property was not attached to the initial suit, but rather was added in after the suit happened - note that Neff did not even purchase the property until after the suit had concluded.
  • Accordingly, the Oregon court did not have jurisdiction over the initial suit between Neff and his lawyer.
  • Enforcement of a judgment without jurisdiction denies due process!
  • Additionally, although judgments rendered by other states are entitled to full faith and credit, if that state did not have jurisdiction to render the judgment, it loses such entitlement.
Case Deep Dive
Majority opinion by RATTIGAN, J.
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Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. . Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua

Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, . Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur

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