Login

Login

To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library

Add

Search

Login
Register

State v. Cameron

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Cameron (Defendant) was not permitted to use voluntary intoxication as a defense to charges of assault, illegal weapon possession, and resisting arrest. She appealed her resulting conviction.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Voluntary intoxication can be a defense to crimes that require a “knowing” or “purposeful” act.

    Facts.

    Defendant was involved in an altercation with several individuals. As a result, she was charged with assault, illegal weapon possession, and resisting arrest. Defendant tried to raise a defense of voluntary intoxication, but the court did not allow it. Defendant was convicted and appealed. A state court of appeals reversed the conviction and the state supreme court granted review.

    Issue.

    Is voluntary intoxication a defense to crimes that require a “knowing” or “purposeful” act?

    Held.

    (Clifford, J.) Yes. Voluntary intoxication can be a defense to crimes that require a “knowing” or “purposeful” act. Common law applied the defense of voluntary intoxication only to specific intent crimes and not to general intent crimes. New Jersey enacted a statute changing the culpability element of criminal law. Mens rea has four categories: “knowing,” “purposeful,” “reckless,” and “criminally negligent.” Voluntary intoxication can be raised as a defense to “knowing” and “purposeful” crimes. The assault, illegal weapon possession, and resisting arrest offenses fall within those categories, so the defense is applicable. (The court then ruled that, as a matter of law, the evidence of voluntary intoxication was insufficient to go to a jury and reinstated the conviction.)

    Discussion.

    Voluntary intoxication has been used as a complete defense to negate an element of the offense in question, or as an incomplete defense to reduce a charge. Recently, the trend has been to allow it only in cases where it operates as a complete defense.


    Create New Group

      Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following