Criminal Law, Pages 472–475

People v. Dlugash

Court of Appeals of New York, 1977

Facts:

Defendant and Bush both shot the victim Geller in his apartment. Bush shot him first, and then defendant shot him 2–5 minutes afterwards, when he may or may not have still been alive. Defendant's shots would have been lethal if Geller was alive, but the wounds from Bush's shots were also lethal.

Procedural History:

Defendant was convicted of attempted murder.

Issue:

Did defendant's actions constitute attempted murder?

Defendant's Argument:

It is not murder to shoot a dead body.

Rule:

LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPage 472, Paragraph 3

[I]f a person engages in conduct which would otherwise constitute an attempt to commit a crime, "it is no defense to a prosecution for such attempt that the crime charged to have been attempted was, under the attendant circumstances, factually or legally impossible of commission, if such crime could have been committed had the attendant circumstances been as such person believed them to be."

Reasoning:

Defendant believed the victim to be alive when he shot him. If this circumstance was true, it would have been murder. Even if he was dead already, defendant's purpose and intention makes this attempted murder.

Holding:

Yes, defendant can be convicted of attempted murder, even if guilty was already dead. Affirmed.

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