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State v. Brown

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Brief Fact Summary.

Brown appealed a first-degree murder conviction after his son died from injuries sustained in child abuse and neglect.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person can only be convicted of a crime if the person fulfills every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

On appeal, the State is entitled to the strongest legitimate view of the evidence and all reasonable and legitimate inferences which may be drawn therefrom.

View Full Point of Law

Brown’s wife called the police after their child fell down the stairs and had difficulty breathing. At trial, exams by a neurological surgeon showed that the child’s injuries were a result of child neglect and abuse. Brown was convicted of first-degree murder and appealed.


Whether a parent who has a history of abusing his child but does not intend the death of his child, fulfills the premeditation requirement of first-degree murder?


No. Brown’s conviction is reduced to second-degree murder. Although Brown intended to harm his child, he did not intend to cause his child’s death. Brown cannot be found guilty of first-degree murder because the death was not premeditated. Brown’s conviction can be reduced to second-degree murder because he acted with malicious intent and second-degree murder has no premeditation requirement.


If one element of a crime is missing, an individual cannot be found guilty of that crime.

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