Brief Fact Summary. Defendant was convicted of felony murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, and robbery. Defendant argues that he renounced the crime of murder prior to its completion and was entitled to a jury instruction on the defense of renunciation.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Renunciation requires not only desistance, but more active rejection and usually contains specific requirements such as complete and voluntary renunciation.
We have observed that any defendant found guilty on the basis of insufficient evidence has been deprived of a constitutional right, and would therefore necessarily meet the four prongs of Golding.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether there is sufficient evidence to support a defense of renunciation which would allow Defendant an opportunity to have the jury instruction of renunciation read.
Held. Affirmed, there was no evidentiary basis to support a defense of renunciation and the court correctly refused to instruct the jury on that defense.
Renunciation as a defense is extremely narrow. It requires not only desistance, but more active rejection and usually contains specific subjective requirements, such as complete and voluntary renunciation.
A mere change of heart or flight from the crime scene does not establish the defense of renunciation. Defendant must both repudiate his prior aid and deprive aid of any effectiveness.
Discussion. The Court found that there was no evidence in the record that the defendant took any steps to renounce or repudiate the aid he had given. Specifically, when the crime involves supplying arms, a statement of withdrawal is not enough; Defendant would have had to deprive his companion of any use of the arms.