- Oct 14, 2019
Very nice post. And thanks for the clear information.You're making assumptions here too. Let's examine...
Is there criminal intent? This is two questions Did he mean to commit the act? Is that act criminal? Note: He doesn't need to be aware the act is criminal, he just needs to know he's committing an act - this is an important distinction. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but ignorance of ones actions is, so one cannot be convicted of an act committed while sleepwalking for example (unless the crime is one which specifically excludes a requirement for intent).
Anyway, I think most people are in agreement that the requirement for criminal intent is satisfied. He knows he is engaged in the act of kneeling on the man's neck. His supervisors and training officers have all testified that it is not a trained or approved restraint technique and that it was applied beyond what would be reasonable, implying that he engaged in the criminal activity of assaulting, not legally restraining, the suspect.
Anyway, you have three basic levels of criminal intent. The highest level, malice aforethought, which is where someone intends to kill someone. You then have specific intent where someone intends a certain outcome from their criminal act - kneecapping someone might be an example of this, the crime is more serious because the assault with a weapon is intended to create a certain injury. Then you have general intent where the person acts intentionally without desire to create a certain result. All three are criminal intent, unless specifically stated in the statutes.
Basically it all boils down to this, he didn't need to intend to kill him to establish general intent. Criminal intent at the most basic level refers just to the act, not the outcome or desired outcome of the act. Just knowingly engaging in that act is sufficient evidence of intent. The case is even clearer in this example because general intent does not need to be inferred. The communication recorded on camera between the officers makes clear that he is aware he is committing the act.
And I should refrain from using what could be misconstrued as legal phrases or terms from which it could be mistakenly inferred that I have legal knowledge and experience.
I have a feeling somehow that you do indeed have have legal knowledge and experience (confirmation optional).
This is what the law is for though (stating the obvious) i.e. to provide such unambiguous definitions. And will of course be instrumental in determining the outcome. There’s no getting away from that.
Do I think that Officer Chauvin intended to kill Mr. Floyd? No I don’t. But that’s just my thinking or belief. And as you have so nicely explained: that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have intent (criminal or other) as defined by law.
For the sake of pure interest though I would like to hear directly from the defendant, truth or no, why he held the suspect down for that long and what, in his mind, was the next step had things not gone awry.
Thanks again. Nicely done and well presented.