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October 27, 2004

More Evidence Of The Liberals' Tendency To Violence

Forget those guys throwing pies at Ann Coulter, (which, as my crim law professor will tell you, is both an assault and a battery), forget Elizabeth Edwards tacit approval of rioting as blackmail, SOMEONE TRIED TO KILL KATHERINE HARRIS.

i have no evidence to support this theory, but i blame the lying, hateful, disgusting, race-baiting video, which has been circulating on the internet (which i will not link to), and which demonizes Katherine Harris so severely that it literally made me wince.

And this creep, true to liberal form, says he was merely exercising his right to political expression.

Posted by annika, Oct. 27, 2004 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


Unfortunately, liberals don't have a monopoly on that sort of thing.

Posted by: Xrlq on Oct. 27, 2004

BTW, is there anything actually known about this man's politics? And, it appears he was not trying to kill her, since he turned away away and did not even hit her. It would seem that if he were trying to kill her he could have. Not that that would be a loss, mind you, but why call it something it is not? Oh, I forgot, it suits your purpose and really, then, what has the truth to do with it?


See why she should have gone to jail rather than become a congressperson.

Posted by: mike on Oct. 28, 2004

"...which, as my crim law professor will tell you, is both an assault and a battery..."

I don't remember: did they hit? It wouldn't be a battery if they missed.

Speaking of assault, Mike, yes, he's a Dem (shocker, I know) and has properly been charged with aggravated assault. "I didn't intend to kill you" gets you out of attempted murder, but not out of being a serious felon. Whether it's a car or a gun, pointing a deadly weapon at someone to scare them by threatening their life is hardly just (in his own words) "political expression."

Posted by: Dave J on Oct. 28, 2004

Mike, i don't know if you are a long time visitor or not. But i hope people who come here have noticed my commitment to scrupulous intellectual honesty. If i make a mistake, i will acknowledge it. And i hope i never make a false statement simply to "suit my purpose." (humorous posts excepted, of course)

Driving a cadillac into a crowd of people satisfies the elements of Attempted Murder. The word "attempt" is synonymous with "try," therefore i am correct in saying that the asshole "tried to kill Katherine Harris."

It's still attempted murder even if you argue that, since he swerved at the last minute, he did not intend to kill anyone. The "intent" element of the crime is satisfied by his "reckless disregard" for human life when he drove a car over the curb, at a crowd of people. The DA apparently made a tactical decision not to charge Attempted Murder, but that doesn't mean his act doesn't fit the legal definition.

Posted by: annika on Oct. 28, 2004

Hmmmmm...a quick search of the case law by this non-criminal Florida attorney finds that you are, indeed, correct: under the facts of this case, it does appear that the State Attorney could indeed have charged Attempted Second-Degree Murder. See Brown v. State, 790 So.2d 389 (Fla. 2000); Gentry v. State, 437 So.2d 1097 (Fla. 1983).

Nonetheless, I personally find Justice Harding's dissent in Brown vastly more convincing: the Florida Supreme Court's jurisprudence on criminal attempt seems to be all over the place, holding inconsistently that it is both a general intent crime and a specific intent crime; moreover, he finds the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions treat attempt as a specific intent crime, with only Colorado joining Florida, and Colorado at least conceding that it is at variance with most of the country. Harding explains why "general intent attempted murder" is logically impossible:

"An attempt, by nature, is a failure to accomplish what one intended to do. Attempt means to try; it means an effort to bring about a desired result." Keys v. State, 104 Nev. 736, 766 P.2d 270, 273 (1988). The concept of attempt seems necessarily to involve the notion of an intended consequence, for when one attempts to do something one is endeavoring or trying to do it. Hence, an attempt requires a desired, or at least an intended, consequence. Paul H. Robinson & Jane A. Grall, Element Analysis in Defining Criminal Liability: The Model Penal Code and Beyond, 35 Stan. L. Rev. 681, 747 n.290 (1983). The nature of an attempt, then, is that it requires a specific intent.


[T]here is a substantial distinction between a completed crime and an attempt. In a case involving a completed crime, the State is punishing a defendant for conduct which was carried out to completion. In contrast, in a case involving an attempt, an inchoate crime, there is no completed offense, so the State is punishing a defendant for conduct preparatory to the offense coupled with the intent to commit such an offense. Unlike the completed offense, mere preparatory conduct without any intent should not be enough to establish an attempt.
Therefore, based on the reasons stated above, I would recede from Gentry and conclude that all attempt crimes require a specific intent to commit the underlying offense...


Murder is a result-oriented crime which cannot be proven without first establishing the "result element" that a person is dead. In light of the conclusion that attempt is a specific intent crime, it follows that a person cannot be convicted of attempted murder if that person did not intend the result of death. It is not enough that the defendant simply intended certain conduct without also intending the result (i.e., although a defendant may have intended to fire a gun at a house, if the defendant did not intend to kill, this should not amount to an attempted murder). See, e.g., [United States v. Roa, 12 M.J. 210, 212] ("Appellate defense counsel have suggested that the government's theory would produce some anomalous results.... [A]n accused who had fired into [a large] crowd with no intent to kill anyone but with a wanton disregard for human life and had injured no one could, under the government's theory, be convicted of a separate attempt to murder every person in the crowd.").

Posted by: Dave J on Oct. 28, 2004

Interesting. But i hasten to remind you that the quoted language is a dissent, and therefore it is not law. Furthermore, this is the exact same Florida Supreme Court that screwed up the 2000 election. And in fact, there's a pretty glaring misspelled word in the 3rd paragraph of the Brown opinion, which does nothing to change my low regard for that particular court.

Anyways, i read the case, and while the dissent does seem persuasive, it does not address the issue as i see it: whether depraved heart or reckless disregard is sufficient to establish intent for the crime of attempted murder. i hold that it is, whether the crime be classified as one of specific intent or one of general intent.

In the context of attempt, the distinction between specific intent crimes and general intent crimes, according to the dissent, is that in general intent crimes the state has to prove intent to do the crime only, while under the standard of specific intent, the state would also have to prove intent to commit the overt act in furtherance of the attempt.

So as you can see, the Brown court was not asked to decide whether depraved heart or reckless disregard satisfies the mens rea element for the crime of attempted murder.

Bottom line: i'm still right.

Posted by: annika on Oct. 28, 2004

Believe me, you don't have any need to convince me of the shortcomings of the Florida Supreme Court; I've been dealing with their nonsense practically nonstop for the past three years. In fact, you probably have NO idea just how bad they are and, yes, Harding was practically in Gore's pocket throughout the 2000 election debacle, which was hardly one of their most egregious fuckups. The House was getting ready to impeach most of them over Armstrong v. Harris, 773 So.2d 7 (Fla. 2000), when the whole recount mess conveniently (for the justices) intervened. By the time that was all over, the legislators were all either too exhausted to deal with it or had just forgotten about it. Don't even get me started on how term limits undercut separation of powers in favor of the judiciary.

I agreed with you, of course, Brown is the law in Florida and thus a defendant can be charged here with "attempted second-degree murder," despite the fact that that still makes no logical sense to me, and would also appear to never be distinguishable from aggravated assault. But when you say you're right, I expect that would vary from one jurisdiction to the next.

Posted by: Dave J on Oct. 28, 2004


I was not truly looking for the legal definition of attempted murder; since you said in your lead in that "someone tried to kill KH" I was more interested in what he was thinking about (assassination?) and why you thought he was tiring to kill her. Not whether a prosecutor would be able to make the case for attempted murder. Without any information to contradict his statement confessing to wanting only to scare her, I still maintain that we/you cannot say with certainty "someone tried to kill KH."

Also, in my cursory reading about the event, I did not see where he mentioned exercising his right to free speech?

Posted by: mike on Oct. 29, 2004

Mike, i think it's freakin hilarious that you can say attempted murder is not the same as "trying to kill someone." Seriously, that's very funny. Did you type that with a straight face. Only a liberal would say something like that. And only a liberal would be "more interested in what he was thinking about" than in the criminal act itself.

One of the reasons why i'm not a liberal.

Oh, and read the link again. (For pete's sake, it's only five paragraphs long.) In paragraph four you'll find the quote: "I was exercising my political expression."

Posted by: annika! on Oct. 29, 2004

Hi Annika,

Well, yes I did miss the fact he said he was exercising his right to political expression. My apologies.

But, I am not particularly interested in the ravings of a fellow who does not seem to have his head on straight.

I think you have hit an important issue that divides what we loosely refer to as the liberal way of thinking from the conservative. The mind set that will execute children and the mentally deficient. The mind set that views compassion as the joke Bush played to help win the 2000 election.

It is what I see as a rigid mind, a law and order perspective that treats all acts as defined by law equally v. a mind set that is interested in motivation and circumstance before determining punishment. The former, the mind set that came up with the Rockefeller drug package in NY or is against removing the federal sentencing guidelines.

I recognize that this man can be charged with attempted murder as can an enraged, disenfranchised voter who enters KH's house armed with a length of rebar. He whacks her once and only refrains from killing her because his back goes out and he falls writhing to the floor.

I am not an attorney, but I suspect that the charge, ignoring the B&E, is the same as the driver who swerved to miss hitting her.

Are they deserving of the same penalty? And did they both try to kill KH?

BTW, why did you assume that the car driver was a liberal? And why do you assume it take a race baiting video of KH to make one wince? I winced the first time I saw her. A woman who's psychological damage was worn plainly around her eyes.

Posted by: mike on Oct. 30, 2004

"I recognize that this man can be charged with attempted murder as can an enraged, disenfranchised voter who enters KH's house armed with a length of rebar."

The latter has specific intent to kill. That makes it attempted first degree murder rather than attempted second degree murder.

"I am not an attorney, but I suspect that the charge, ignoring the B&E, is the same as the driver who swerved to miss hitting her."

No, see above. Moreover, that's not just breaking & entering: it's first-degree burglary. See Fla. Stat. ยง 810.02(2)(a).

"Are they deserving of the same penalty?"

No, since they didn't commit the same crime.

Posted by: Dave J on Oct. 30, 2004

Joanne Jacobs has a less serious example of knee-jerk liberalism turning into violence on a college campus:

A part-time instructor at Fort Lewis College in Colorado kicked the leg of a student wearing a College Republicans sweat shirt at an off-campus restaurant. According to student Mark O'Donnell, his assailant, Maria Spero, then said "she should have kicked me harder and higher."

Spero, a visiting instructor of modern languages, apologized to O'Donnell in a letter dated Oct. 29.

"I acted entirely inappropriately by kicking you, giving vent to a thoughtless knee-jerk political reaction that should never have happened," she wrote. "Before the incident, I did not know you and that you are a Fort Lewis student."

Posted by: markm on Oct. 30, 2004