U.S. v. Burks, No. 76-1596

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WEICK and LIVELY, Circuit Judges, and CECIL; LIVELY
Citation547 F.2d 968
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. David Wayne BURKS, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date30 December 1976
Docket NumberNo. 76-1596

Page 968

547 F.2d 968
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
David Wayne BURKS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 76-1596.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Dec. 30, 1976.
Rehearing Denied Feb. 8, 1977.

Page 969

Thomas W. Moon, Bart C. Durham, III, Nashville, Tenn. (Court appointed CJA), for defendant-appellant.

Charles H. Anderson, U. S. Atty., Richard L. Windsor, Nashville, Tenn., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before WEICK and LIVELY, Circuit Judges, and CECIL, Senior Circuit Judge.

LIVELY, Circuit Judge.

This appeal from conviction for armed bank robbery seeks reversal primarily on the ground that the government did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Burks was sane at the time he robbed the bank. The government has the burden of proving sanity once a prima facie defense of insanity has been raised. United States v. Smith (Smith II ), 437 F.2d 538, 541 (6th Cir. 1970).

Appellant contends that no witness for the prosecution testified that defendant was substantially capable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of the law he was charged with violating. While they did not agree on the proper diagnosis of appellant's condition, three expert witnesses for the defense testified that Burks suffered from a mental illness at the time of the bank robbery and that he was substantially incapable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of the law against robbing banks. This evidence was directed to the questions identified by this court as critical to the inquiry in United States v. Smith (Smith I ), 404 F.2d 720, 727 (1968), where we wrote:

The questions for jury consideration pertaining to criminal responsibility when defendant offers an insanity defense are as follows:

1. Was he suffering from a mental illness at the time of the commission of the crime?

2. Was the illness such as to prevent his knowing the wrongfulness of his act?

3. Was the mental illness such as to render him substantially incapable of conforming his conduct to the requirements of the law he is charged with violating?

A negative finding as to the first question or negative findings as to both the second and third questions would require rejection of the insanity defense. An affirmative finding as to the first question, plus an affirmative finding as to either the second or the third question, would require a jury verdict of "not guilty" because of defendant's lack of criminal responsibility.

Even though the only expert evidence in the present case directed to the issues set forth in Smith I indicated one conclusion, the jury was not required to accept the expert testimony as conclusive if there was other evidence from which they could reach a contrary determination. However, the fact that the experts disagreed on the precise form of mental illness with which Burks was afflicted did not create a jury issue.

The appellant argues that the jury should not have been permitted to consider either the expert or lay...

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13 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Evans, No. 76-3715
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 4, 1978
    ...States v. Wiley, 170 U.S.App.D.C. 382, 517 F.2d 1212 (1975). Perhaps, a resolution of the issue is forthcoming. United States v. Burks, 547 F.2d 968 (6th Cir.), cert. granted, 431 U.S. 964, 97 S.Ct. 2919, 53 L.Ed.2d 1059 (1977); Greene v. Massey, 24 28 U.S.C.A. § 2106 provides: Determinatio......
  • Gall v Parker, 6
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 30, 2000
    ...them in those brief moments carries no probative weight as to the absence of EED. See 437 F.2d at 540-41; see also United States v. Burks, 547 F.2d 968, 970 (6th Cir. 1977) (stating that lay testimony that defendant did not appear "abnormal" by persons "who had very limited o......
  • Gall v. Parker, Nos. 91-5502
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 3, 1999
    ...them in those brief moments carries no probative weight as to the absence of EED. See 437 F.2d at 540-41; see also United States v. Burks, 547 F.2d 968, 970 (6th Cir. 1977) (stating that lay testimony that defendant did not appear "abnormal" by persons "who had very limited o......
  • Burks v. United States, No. 76-6528
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1978
    ...Forman v. United States, 361 U.S. 416, 80 S.Ct. 481, 4 L.Ed.2d 412, overruled to the extent that they suggest such a waiver. Pp. 17-18. 547 F.2d 968, reversed and remanded. Bart C. Durham, III, Nashville, Tenn., for petitioner. Frank H. Easterbrook, Washington, D. C., for respondent, pro ha......
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13 cases
  • U.S. v. Evans, No. 76-3715
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 4, 1978
    ...States v. Wiley, 170 U.S.App.D.C. 382, 517 F.2d 1212 (1975). Perhaps, a resolution of the issue is forthcoming. United States v. Burks, 547 F.2d 968 (6th Cir.), cert. granted, 431 U.S. 964, 97 S.Ct. 2919, 53 L.Ed.2d 1059 (1977); Greene v. Massey, 24 28 U.S.C.A. § 2106 provides: Determinatio......
  • Gall v Parker, 6
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 30, 2000
    ...them in those brief moments carries no probative weight as to the absence of EED. See 437 F.2d at 540-41; see also United States v. Burks, 547 F.2d 968, 970 (6th Cir. 1977) (stating that lay testimony that defendant did not appear "abnormal" by persons "who had very limited opportunity to o......
  • Gall v. Parker, Nos. 91-5502
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 3, 1999
    ...them in those brief moments carries no probative weight as to the absence of EED. See 437 F.2d at 540-41; see also United States v. Burks, 547 F.2d 968, 970 (6th Cir. 1977) (stating that lay testimony that defendant did not appear "abnormal" by persons "who had very limited opportunity to o......
  • Burks v. United States, No. 76-6528
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1978
    ...Forman v. United States, 361 U.S. 416, 80 S.Ct. 481, 4 L.Ed.2d 412, overruled to the extent that they suggest such a waiver. Pp. 17-18. 547 F.2d 968, reversed and remanded. Bart C. Durham, III, Nashville, Tenn., for petitioner. Frank H. Easterbrook, Washington, D. C., for respondent, pro ha......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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