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In re Smith

    Brief Fact Summary. Defendant appealed two convictions based on the contention that his actions did not meet the standard for attempted kidnapping.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. To constitute an attempt, there must the specific intent to commit a particular crime, and a direct ineffectual act done towards its commission.

    Facts. Defendant Smith was convicted and imprisoned for two counts of kidnapping, one count of attempted kidnapping and one count of rape. The convictions were based on three separate incidents with different women. One victim he raped. The other two, he attempted to have intercourse with but they managed to escape. Defendant appeals and contends that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Specifically that he was not guilty of attempted kidnapping and that his counsel did not raise appropriate argument.

    Issue. Whether Defendant’s actions went beyond mere preparation and constituted an attempt.

    Held. Vacated, Defendant is entitled to new counsel.
    To constitute an attempt, there must the specific intent to commit a particular crime, and a direct ineffectual act done towards its commission.

    The act or acts must go further than mere preparation; they must be such as would ordinarily result in the crime except for the interruption.

    Defendant’s actions did not reach the stage of development beyond mere preparation, as the actions could be attributable to several different crimes.


    Discussion. The Court focused on the actions Defendant undertook with respect to the two women he was charged with attempting to kidnap. One woman testified that Defendant told her to unlock the car and that “we were going in my car.” The Court ruled that Defendant could have had the intent to rob or rape the woman and not to kidnap her. Thus Defendants actions did not reach the stage of development beyond mere preparation.


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