7/20/17, COA (Riley) – No fundamental error where jury instructions misstated mens
rea. Also, possession of syringe and escape charges were not one episode of conduct.
D was arrested and found in possession of a syringe. He became very sick and was taken to the hospital. On the way back, he escaped from the officer’s car and ran. At his subsequent trial, the court incorrectly instructed the jury that the mens rea for escape was knowing or intentional, not simply intentional. D did not object to the instruction at trial, but he claimed fundamental error on appeal. The COA held that the instruction was incorrect, but the correct mens rea was listed during the State’s closing argument, final instructions to the jury, and the charging information. Also, “error in an instruction on mens rea does not rise to the level of fundamental error where the defendant’s mens rea was not a central issue at trial.”
D also challenged his consecutive sentences, arguing the syringe possession and escape arose from a
single episode of criminal conduct. The COA disagreed, concluding that a full account of each crime
could be given without reference to the other, so it was not one single episode.
- Posted by justin
- On August 23, 2017
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