Criminal Directed Verdict: WRIGHT V. COM. (SC 11/21/2007)

CRIMINAL: Directed Verdict, Instructions

DATE RENDERED: 11/21/2007

SC affirmed Defendant’s convictions and 40 year sentence for first-degree robbery and criminal attempt to commit murder. White was not entitled to a directed verdict of acquittal on the attempted murder charge. Because trial counsel failed to renew his motion for a directed verdict at the close of all the evidence, CA reviewed the issue under the palpable error standard. The facts show that White did fire his gun in the general direction of Hubbs several times. While two of the bullets missed Hubbs by a wide margin, one of the bullets hit him. White’s repeated firing of his pistol was "a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in his [murdering Hubbs]." KRS 506.010. Additionally, since one of the bullets actually hit Hubbs, a jury could reasonably find that White had the specific intent to kill Hubbs. Thus, there is nothing remotely close to palpable error here. Next, while the TC’s instruction presupposed a pistol was a deadly weapon, any error was harmless. In this matter it is beyond question that the jury would have found the pistol carried by White to be a deadly weapon.

Digested by Scott C. Byrd

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