Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The deliberation essential to a conviction of first degree murder need only be momentary.
A jury found Reginald Davis guilty of murder in the first degree, armed robbery and armed criminal action. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without probation or parole. He appealed that judgment and also the denial of postconviction relief. He contended that the evidence did not establish the element of deliberation necessary for a first degree murder conviction. He also contended that the trial court erred in restricting his attorney's cross-examination of a witness regarding his prior arrests and that it erred in allowing testimony that he usually carried a gun in the small of his back.
Did the evidence establish the element of deliberation which is essential to a first degree murder conviction?
The court held that Davis’ deliberation was proven by evidence showing that he decided to use the weapon he was carrying when he was confronted by his intended robbery victim. The trial court properly restricted the cross-examination of the witness's prior arrests because they did not result in a conviction and there was no need for further collateral impeachment of the witness. The testimony that Davis usually carried a concealed gun was relevant because it corroborated the surviving victim's testimony that she saw Davis carrying a gun. Finally, Davis’ attorney was not ineffective in not objecting to the testimony about Davis’ gun because that was consistent with his trial strategy not to unduly emphasize the testimony.