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Ford v. State

    Citation. 330 Md. 682,625 A.2d 984,1993 Md.

    Brief Fact Summary. Appellant was charged with several offenses after he threw landscaping rocks at car on a busy highway. Appellant argued that the doctrine of transferred intent could not be applied to several passengers that were injured due to his rock throwing.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The transferred intent makes a whole crime out of two halves by joining the intent as to one victim with the harm caused to another victim. Where the crime has actually been committed against the intended victim, transferred intent is unnecessary and should not be applied.

    Facts. Appellant and several other youths stood on or next to the Capital Beltway and hurled large landscaping rocks at cars. A number of people were injured and significant damage was done to many cars. Appellant was charged with 90 counts. The charges were for attempted murder, attempt to maim, intent to disable, assault and battery, and malicious destruction of property. Appellant was charged with the majority of the counts with the exception of attempted murder and sentenced to 29 years in prison. The Appellate Court reversed on the counts of malicious destruction of property but affirmed all other convictions.

    Issue. Whether the doctrine of transferred intent was properly applied in this case.

    Held. Affirmed.
    The doctrine of transferred intent is applicable to specific intent crimes that require a specific intent to cause a specific type of harm.

    The transferred intent makes a whole crime out of two halves by joining the intent as to one victim with the harm caused to another victim. Where the crime has actually been committed against the intended victim, transferred intent is unnecessary and should not be applied.

    Concurrence. The concurrence viewed the majority’s opinion as somewhat limiting the transferred intent doctrine. The problem the concurrence sees is if there are two victims injured by a single gun shot. Under the majority’s view, Appellant would escape punishment for one of the crimes.

    Discussion. The Court distinguished between transferred intent and concurrent intent. Concurrent intent, the Court explained is when a defendant intended to harm one individual but perhaps there were clearly others in the path that would get harmed. Thus, the defendant had the specific intent to harm the targeted victim and concurrent intent to harm others in his way to the target. The Court ruled that in State v. Wilson, the decision was correct but should have been decided using the theory of concurrent intent. Therefore with respect to the crime of assault with intent to maim, if the primary victim is harmed, then the doctrine of transferred intent cannot be applied.


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