Timothy R. Owens v. State of Maryland – No. 129, 1997 Term Facts
A police officer conducting a routine night patrol found one Ariel Johnson and Timothy Owens in a parked car dressing up. The police officer inquired of Ariel Johnson age, and Mr. Owen informed him that she was 16. The officer on patrol decided to call the home of Miss Johnson and found out she was 13years at the time of the incident, while Mr. Owen was 18years. Mr. Owen was arrested and charged of second-degree rape. An infringment of Section 463(a) which states “A person is charged of second degree rape if they engage in sexual intercourse with a minor of 14years.
Strict Liability Crimes
Strict liability crimes are defined as crimes that do not have element of mens rea. Strict liability crimes are related to offenses in business, safety, health and driving offenses. In criminal law it is controversial to use strict liability, as it intends to convict an individual of a crime they may not be liable to. The offender may take reasonable care to make certain that they are in compliance with the law. The harshness of strict liability is tolerated because it is more significant use is in the protection of the public. Strict liability is used in criminal law when there is the presumption of mens rea.
The defendant belief that the victim was 13years old is not a defense. It was held that the Appellant’s right to due process was not violated following Maryland and United States Constitution. The trial judge denied a motion from the accused Advocate for an acquittal. Citing that the Garnett, a mistake on age can only be used as a mitigating factor in sentencing.
About the above-discussed case fact of Owen vs. state, it is illegal for an individual to have sexual intercourse with a minor. It falls under strict liability as even when the defendant believes the victim is of age, the defendant is charged guilty. In simple words, one does not have to have the intention to have sex with an underage. Your mindset also doesn’t matter.
Brookey Lee West case Facts
On February 5, 2001, Bill Unruh sensed a bad smell from the storage unit 317 which was rented by West and Smith on June26, 1998. The garbage can was oozing out some stinking substance. Unruh then called the police. Matvay, a crime scene analyst observed an element leeking out from one side of the green garbage can. He thereafter conducted a blood test which turned out positive. A search warrant was then secured.
Whilst conducting a search in unit 317, a wallet was discovered and identified to be Smith’s. Dental records confirmed the body in the garbage can to be Smith’s. West was arrested on February 5, 2001, and charged with murder of her own mother. Cause of death, suffocation, or manner or means unknown.
The significance of circumstantial evidence and inferences
Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an assumption to connect it to a conclusion or a fact. A court can convict an offender on circumstantial evidence alone. Although the prosecutor has to establish a chain of circumstances, it has to point to the accused and only the accused, thereby making his innocence inconsistent. It is essential for the prosecutor to firmly establish the circumstances from the inference of guilt of the defendant drawn.
About the case discussed. There must be sufficient evidence taken into consideration. Efficacy must be put into account within all human probability indicating that the accused and no one else committed the offense. Bearing in mind the weight of the evidence on the above, corpus delicti rule was satisfied. This is despite the actual cause of death not determined. Discovery of her body, sealed with great effort in a storage unit West rented, created reasonable inference.