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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
Fisher v. United States
Citation:328 U.S. 463, 66 S.Ct. 1318, 90 L.Ed. 1382.
On March 1, 1944, Ms. Reardon, a librarian, and the defendant, a janitor, were alone in the library. Ms. Reardon called the defendant a racial slur and complained about his work performance. The defendant struck her with a stick and when it broke, he choked her to silence. He then dragged her to a restroom and left the body to clean up some spots of blood on the floor outside. While the defendant was doing this cleaning up, the victim “started hollering again.” The defendant then took out his knife and stuck her in the throat. After that he dragged her body down into an adjoining pump pit, where it was found the next morning.
The trial court refused to instruct the jurors that they should consider the evidence of the defendant’s psychopathic aggressive tendencies, low emotional response, and borderline mental deficiency to determine whether he was guilty of first degree murder or a lesser charge. The aggregate of these factors admittedly was not enough to support a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, however, the defendant argued that they showed that the elements of premeditation and deliberation were not met.
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