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Letner v. State

Tennessee Supreme Court
299 S.W. 1049 (1927)


Facts

As Walter Johnson, Alfred Johnson, and another seventeen-year-old boy were crossing a dangerous portion of the Emory River in a canoe, Letner (defendant) stood on a high bluff overlooking the river and fired shots from a gun into the water very close to where the men and canoe were located. After a second shot was fired, Walter Johnson jumped into the water. In doing so, the canoe capsized and Alfred and Walter drowned. Letner was charged with involuntary manslaughter. At trial, the court instructed the jury that if the evidence showed that Letner fired the gun, not to hit anyone but to play a prank and, as a result, Alfred became frightened and jumped out of the canoe and into the water and thereafter drowned, then Letner is guilty. Letner was convicted and he appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (McKinney, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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