Monday, September 20, 2010

Starbucks Made Me Do It

The Associated Press reports that a man accused of strangling his wife is using his own variation of the "twinkie" defense. Thirty three year old Woody Will Smith will soon stand trial for the May 2009 death of Amanda Hornsby Smith.  His defense?
Funny you should mention that.  He claims that excessive caffeine from sodas, energy drinks and diet pills made him so mentally unstable he couldn't have knowingly killed his wife. 

Authorities allege that Woody strangled his wife with an extension cord and then tied her feet and hands together.  Woody alleges he doesn't remember any of it. He only remembers taking his kids to school that morning and that he wasn't sleeping much for fear his wife would take the children. Smith's defense counsel, attorney Shannon Sexton filed notice that he plans to argue his client ingested so much caffeine that it made him temporarily insane. (or in legal terminology "Cuckcoo for Coco puffs") Of course, that meant he could not form the requisite intent to commit the crime.  Case records indicate Smith was drinking around six sodas and energy drinks a day and ingesting diet pills.  That amounted to 400 milligrams of caffeine. ( I'm guessing that's about four cups of coffee).

The defense may not be that far fetched.  Idaho Attorney Mark Moorer won a dismissal charge for his client Daniel Noble, a budget analyst with the University of Idaho Foundation.  In that case, the defendant drove to Starbucks in his pjs and slippers where he downed two venti coffees.  Noble then  drove onto a University of Idaho sidewalk where he ignobly hit two pedestrians.  The defense presented medical tests which diagnosed him as having a rare form of bipolar disorder triggered by heavy consumption of caffeine.   The court dismissed the charges against him concluding that he was unable to form the necessary mental intent to commit the crime. Whether the defense works for Mr. Smith remains to be seen. 

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