William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Wednesday, 16, April, 2008

In Which I am Mentioned By the Ohio Supreme Court

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 22:47

State v. Fulmar. The appeal from case from 2006 just came down from the Ohio Supreme Court.

This was interesting, as I had gotten blindsided by the defense attorney. I was originally consulted by one of the prosecutors to testify that, yes, a seven D-cell flashlight CAN be a deadly weapon, thankyouverymuch. Get right down to it, it’s a weighted club made out of aircraft aluminium.

Be that as it may, defense counsel wanted me to opine on the effects of aspirin poisoning. I think he was shooting for a case of intoxication leading to diminished capacity. I’m happy to talk about salicylism, I’ve seen cases of salicylism. I don’t think aspirin toxicity makes you attack three police officers, ever, that’s a leap I couldn’t make.

The great thing was my interaction with the prosecuting attorney. This guy was always on the ball. And he did a perfect job–‘cos really, the guy had taken three 500 mg aspirins, and he was a big guy. That would be a therapeutic dose. Anyway, Bob asked the right questions, allowing me to give the right answers. Nice when that happens.

1 Comment »

  1. Oh boy. . the “Twinkie defense” – a criminal defendant’s claims that some unusual biological factor entered into the causes or motives of an alleged crime. Thereby mitigating the defendant’s responsibility. (Not my fault – it was the aspirin)

    You know this, but other readers may not. The expression derives from the 1979 trial of Dan White, a former San Francisco Supervisor who assassinated Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. At the trial, noted psychiatrist Martin Blinder testified that White had been depressed at the time of the crime, and pointed to several factors indicating White’s depression: Normally a fitness fanatic and health food advocate, White had let his apprence become slovenly and had also been consuming Twinkies and Coca-Cola. As an incidental note, Blinder mentioned theories that elements of diet could worsen existing mood swings. The fact that White had killed Moscone and Milk was not challenged, but in part because of the testimony from Blinder and other psychiatrists, the defense successfully argued for a ruling of diminished capacity. White was thus judged incapable of the premeditation required for a murder conviction, and was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead.

    The media played up the Twinkie angle frequently, though reporting the defense arguments inaccurately, claiming that the defense had presented junk food as the cause of White’s depression and/or diminished capacity, instead of symptomatic of and perhaps exacerbating an existing depression. But by this time, the “Twinkie defense” had become such a common referent that one lawmaker waved a Twinkie in the air while making his point during debate.

    Ncie work William, would have liked to have seen you on the stand.

    Comment by Lin — Friday, 18, April, 2008 @ 08:36 | Reply

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