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Armed to the Teeth: The Use of a Person’s Mouth, Teeth or Body as a Dangerous Instrument for Aggravated Offenses

By   /  November 25, 2013  /  Criminal Procedure, Featured 

Scales & Gavel

Defendant David Plunkett has a history of mental illness and is a carrier of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). During a visit to his primary care physician, he was found by police openly possessing marijuana and acting strangely in the waiting room. This behavior prompted the police to arrest Plunkett. Plunkett resisted the arrest and bit the police officer on the finger. As a result, Plunkett was charged and convicted of aggravated assault upon a police officer. Three elements must be satisfied to sustain a conviction for aggravated assault under New York Penal Law § 120.11. A prima facie case requires: (1) “intent to cause serious physical injury”, (2) “to a person whom he knows or reasonably should reasonably know to be a police officer or a peace officer engaged in the course of performing his official duties”, and (3) an injury caused by means of a “deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.”

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