A, preparing for a big night on the town, takes a pill that a friend assured him would cause him to have “a good time.” While A knows the pill isa psychedelic drug, he assumes it is a mild one that might cause some distorted perceptions, but nothing too severe. In fact, though, the pill is a strong dose of LSD, a very powerful drug that can cause significant hallucinations.
Sometime later that night, A breaks into a zoo and steals a koala bear. A then rips his clothes off and, terrified koala bear in tow, goes streaking naked through what he thinks is a park closed to the public at that time of night. In fact, the park is a girl-scout camp, where several minors see A’s naked body.
In a common-law jurisdiction, A is charged with two crimes: (1) recklessly taking and carrying away another’s animal and (2) exposing a person’s sexual organs, intending to be seen by minors. Assume the prosecution can prove the above facts at the ensuing trial. Further assume that the prosecution can establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, the actus reus of both crimes charged.
At trial, A testifies, quite truthfully, that he intended to get “messed up and see stuff” and to “have a good time,” but not to “get totally messed up, steal a koala, and go streaking through a girl scout camp.”
A asserts alternative defenses of involuntary intoxication and voluntary intoxication. In this common-law jurisdiction, voluntary intoxication is a defense to specific-intent crimes if, due to intoxication, the defendant did not form the specific intent required in the crime’s definition. Involuntary intoxication is a defense to both specific and general intent crimes if, due to intoxication, the defendant did not form the mental state required in the crime’s definition.
Note: Authorities eventually return the koala to the zoo, unharmed.
- Will A’s intoxication defenses succeed? Explain, applying only the common law.