Phase 3 Individual Project
Colorado Technical University Online
12 June 2013
Title: Kennedy v. State, 323 S.E.2d 169 (Ga. App. 1984)
Facts: In the early morning hours of September 23, 1981 in the state of Georgia a log cabin had caught on fire by a hot plate. An investigation determined it was a result of Arson. An accelerant was used in conjunction with a hotplate causing the fire. The investigation also showed the owner of the residence had purchase a $40,000 insurance policy on the log cabin five days prior to the incident. The owner of the property was Henry X. Kennedy and the police had him as the number one suspect. Mr. Kennedy’s alibi was too weak to exclude him from suspicion.
a.) Appellant pleaded not guilty to first degree arson on grounds of his alibi.
b.) Appellant also used verbiage as a defense on several occasions, I.E. the phase “scene of the crime” or “scene of the offense”. The appellant states the scene is not a crime and it shouldn’t be described as so until the jury determines it.
Decisions: Mr. Kennedy believed he was not allowed to provide his defense for his alibi from the court. He claimed he was not present during the time of the alleged crime. The prosecution proved stated that Mr. Kennedy had conspired to start the fire when he was not present by adding an accelerant to all rooms and around the hotplate. The prosecution also proved that accerelants around the hotplate suggested that it was an attempt of arson instead of an accident.
Mr. Kennedy claimed error of the prosecution regarding his defense of the fire being an accident. The prosecutions use of the phrase “scene of the crime” or “scene of the offense” was the wrong verbiage according to Mr. Kennedy. The court found there was nothing wrong with the wording.
Reasoning: The evidence was stacked against Mr. Kennedy and him having a weak alibi suggested he was the only person to gain from the incident. Having renewed his insurance for the property just days prior was more than a coincidence. Also, having a failing business with two mortgages on the property that burn put most of the evidence in Mr. Kennedy’s area. As for the physical evidence the accelerant (kerosene) was poured on and around the hotplate that was turned on prior to the fire proving that the fire was no accident.
I think the defendant tried to use the system against itself by delaying the process of a trial by jury. He used every little thing to either excuse himself from guilt or get a mistrial. In the end he was convicted of First Degree Arson. The evidence proved that Mr. Kennedy was in need of extra money to help his business. Mr. Kennedy attempted after being convicted to have his case reheard on October of 1984 and it was denied.
Burglary is the forcible entry into a structure with the intent to commit a felony once inside (Davenport, 2012). The Texas Penal Code title 7 chapter 30 defines burglary as “a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, the person, with intent to commit a felony, theft, or an assault (Totalcriminaldefense.com. (n.d.). The term “intent to commit a felony” is the difference between a person looking for someone and a person looking for things to take with them. During a trial the prosecution has to prove that the defendant was there with the intent to commit a felony, theft or assault. Vehicles, pay phones, vending machines and any other type of property that does not belong to the person who is in possession of it, is considered burglary.
Breaking and entering is defined as entering a residence or other enclosed property through the slightest amount of force (even pushing open a door), without authorization. Entering with the intent to commit a crime is burglary (dictionary.law.com, n.d.). If intent cannot be proven the breaking and entering alone is probably at least illegal...
References: Georgia Caselaw. (2004). Browse Caselaw. Browse Caselaw. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.lawskills.com/case/ga/id/441/78/index.html
Davenport, A. U. (2012). Basic Criminal Law: The Constitution, Procedure, and Crimes (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://wow.coursesmart.com/9781256648710
Dictionary.law.com. (n.d.). Breaking and Entering. Legal Dictionary. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://dictionary.law.com/default.aspx?selected=98
Texas Penal Code Title 7-30.2
Texas Penal Code Title 7-30.5
Totalcriminaldefense.com. (n.d.). Texas Penal Code. - Texas Attorney Resources. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://law.onecle.com/texas/penal/index.html
Thefreedictionary.com. (n.d.). Embezzlement. The Free Dictionary. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/embezzlement
Thefreedictionary.com. (n.d.). Extortion. The Free Dictionary. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/extortion
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