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United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
June 6, 2005, Filed
[*658] EBEL, Circuit Judge.
This appeal requires us to decide what mental state is required to convict a defendant of voluntary manslaughter under 18 U.S.C. § 1112 and to determine how district courts must instruct juries regarding that mental element. We hold that, ] in order to convict a defendant of voluntary manslaughter under 18 U.S.C. § 1112, the Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted in the heat of passion with either (1) a general intent to kill, meaning that the defendant was aware that the result was practically certain to follow from his conduct regardless of his desire as to that result; (2) intent to do serious bodily injury; or (3) depraved heart [**2] recklessness. Instructing the jury that voluntary manslaughter requires only an unlawful killing "in the heat of passion" is insufficient to convey this mental state requirement. Instead, juries must be specifically instructed that voluntary manslaughter requires the above-stated intentional or reckless mental state in addition to the homicidal act occurring in the heat of passion.
In this case, Defendant-Appellant Redd Rock Serawop ("Serawop" or "Defendant") was indicted for second degree murder under 18 U.S.C. § 1111(a) (2000) following the death of his three-month-old daughter, Beyonce, in Indian Country. The trial court instructed the jury on this charged offense and also on the lesser-included offenses of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter under 18 U.S.C. § 1112(a). The jury convicted Serawop of voluntary manslaughter. Below, and on appeal, Serawop argues that jury instructions failed to charge the jury with the proper mental state required for voluntary manslaughter and thereby prevented the jury from considering whether he should instead have been convicted of the less serious offense of involuntary manslaughter.
With respect [**3] to voluntary manslaughter, the district court instructed the jury:
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
410 F.3d 656 *; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 10384 **
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. REDD ROCK SERAWOP, a/k/a Reddrock Serawop, a/k/a Redrock Serawop, Defendant-Appellant.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division. (D.C. No. 2:03-CR-00339 PGC).
United States v. Bedonie, 317 F. Supp. 2d 1285, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8420 (D. Utah, 2004)
voluntary manslaughter, heat of passion, killing, malice, murder, mental state, involuntary manslaughter, reckless, homicide, common law, convicted, second degree murder, beyond a reasonable doubt, passion, manslaughter, provocation, mitigation, required mental state, unlawful killing, district court, human being, mens rea, degree of murder, instructions, negated, instruct a jury, general intent, intentionally, deliberate, unlawfully
Criminal Law & Procedure, Homicide, Manslaughter & Murder, Murder, Depraved Heart, Voluntary Manslaughter, General Overview, Elements, Trials, Burdens of Proof, Prosecution, Acts & Mental States, Mens Rea, General Intent, Recklessness, Jury Instructions, Particular Instructions, Elements of Offense, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Involuntary Manslaughter, Specific Intent, Courts, Common Law, Criminal Offenses, Second-Degree Murder, Definitions, Malice, First-Degree Murder, Penalties, Negligence, Willfulness, Civil Procedure, Jury Trials, Appeals, Reversible Error, Jury Instructions, Objections, Closing Arguments, Requests to Charge, Reviewability, Preservation for Review, Harmless & Invited Error, Plain Error, Definition of Harmless & Invited Error, Evidence, Admissibility, Procedural Matters, Rulings on Evidence, Inflammatory Statements