Brief Fact Summary. Defendant Baker was convicted for speeding and at the trial; evidence that Defendant’s cruise control stuck and therefore he could not adjust his speed was suppressed. Defendant appeals, arguing that he acted involuntarily and therefore could not be held liable for the offense.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. While fault is not an element that must be established with regard to strict liability offenses, the action charged as criminal must be proven to have been voluntary.
Issue. Was Defendant acting voluntarily such that he should be held liable for speeding?
Held. Yes. Judgment affirmed.
While fault is not an element that must be established with regard to strict liability offenses, the action charged as criminal must be proven to have been voluntary.
Defendant assumed the full operation of his car and in activating the cruise control attached to that car, was acting voluntarily, such that he can be held liable for speeding. The court distinguishes this case from a case in which a car suffers break failure or the like.
Discussion. In this case, the Court is time framing to show concurrence of the elements of the crime by reaching back to when Defendant activated the cruise control and then tying that action to the later speeding. The Court says that cruise control is not an essential element of driving and that by using it, Defendant gave up control of the car. While speeding is a strict liability offense, the court’s analysis is essentially that it was foreseeable when Defendant gave up control that the cruise control would fail to work – in other words the Court is framing its discussion in terms of recklessness and negligence in a case where we are dealing with a strict liability offense.