State v. Hernandez
COA MO - 1991
- D drove in his van after drinking heavily. He ran into a truck and killed a person.
- D was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
- The trial court admitted signs and stickers into evidence containing drinking slogans.
- Trial court found D guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
- MO COA reversed, remanded.
- What kind of behavior constitutes criminal negligence?
- A person acts with criminal negligence when he fails to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result will follow.
- The essence of manslaughter is a D's lack of awareness of the risk to others from his conduct.
- The drinking slogans were not relevant to any of the elements of criminal negligence.
- The state did not have to prove that the D knew what the effects of alcohol would be upon him.
- The drinking signs only put the D's character into question, which D did not bring up, so it can't be relevant.
- They were relevant and not prejudicial.