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Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant was convicted of unlawfully and maliciously administering to or causing to be administered to, or taken by, any other person any poison or other destructive or noxious thing, so as to endanger the life of such person or inflict bodily harm, and Defendant appealed, stating that the jury was instructed improperly as to malice.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. “Malice” requires (1) an intent to do the harm that was done; or (2) recklessness as to whether the harm occurs.
Issue. Did the trial court properly instruct the jury on the meaning of the term “malicious?”
The trial court defined “malicious” as merely “wicked.” This was an insufficient and incorrect definition of the term. “Malice” requires (1) an intent to do the harm that was done; or (2) reckless as to whether the harm occurs.
Since the jury was not properly instructed on the meaning of malice, the conviction could not stand.
Discussion. “Malice” requires that one bring about harm, whether by intention or recklessness.