Predominant/Dominant Aggressor Law
Hughes v. State (2015) 467 S.W.3d 170
The defendant threw, hit, and choked the victim. The victim’s son witnessed the defendant holding the victim against the bathroom wall and hands around her neck; the defendant later choked the victim again and threw her against the fence. The defendant shot a gun in the air and made other threats. The victim told a coworker the next day and sought medical attention the next day.
The victim received surgery due to broken arm, damage to esophagus, and scars as well as on-going physical therapy and therapy for emotional trauma. This added up to $12,000 in medical bills. There were photos of the injuries.
Expert testimony is not required to prove serious physical injury. Intent inferred from the circumstances of the crime. Presumption a person intends the natural and probable consequences of his act. Serious physical injury is defined as physical injury that creates a substantial risk or death or that causes protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. The victim suffered serious physical injury.
Mathis v. State, 423 S.W.3d 91 (2012)
The victim called 911 to report that the defendant had choked her, she could not breathe, he had his hands around her neck, and he threatened to kill her. The victim had marks on her neck and chest observed by an officer. The defendant had fled the scene and hid at a neighbor’s house. The case was proved by spontaneous statements on 911 which appellate court held was admissible.
MacKintrush v. State 334 Ark. 390, 401, 978 S.W.2d 293, 298 (1998)
Under Rule 702 of the Arkansas Rules of Evidence, a witness qualified as an expert may give his or her opinion based on scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge to assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. Here, Dr. Kokes based his opinion on his observation of the presence of petechial hemorrhages on the surfaces of the eyes and in the surfaces of the eyelids and the presence of hemorrhages in the criciod thyroid muscle and behind both horns of the thyroid. He went on to state that these particular types of hemorrhages are caused by pressure that is applied from outside the neck. He also stated that some of the external injuries were indicative of a struggle. Finally, he testified that in his opinion the cause of Ogretta MacKintrush’s death was strangulation. This type of testimony was clearly proper under Rule 702.