Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status

McKnight v. State

661 S.E.2d 354 (2008)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 35,600+ case briefs...

McKnight v. State

South Carolina Supreme Court

661 S.E.2d 354 (2008)

Facts

The State of South Carolina (plaintiff) prosecuted Regina McKnight (defendant) for homicide by child abuse after McKnight gave birth to a stillborn baby. At trial, the state introduced the physician who performed the autopsy, who testified that chorioamnionitis and funisitis in conjunction with McKnight’s cocaine use likely caused the stillbirth but admitted that chorioamnionitis or funisitis alone could have caused the death. A second expert witness for the state testified that McKnight’s cocaine use caused the chorioamnionitis and funisitis. McKnight’s counsel introduced a physician who testified that chorioamnionitis and funisitis were responsible for the death and that recent studies have been unable to link cocaine use with stillbirth. McKnight’s counsel also introduced a second physician who admitted that cocaine use could not be ruled out as a cause of death, which the state relied on heavily during its closing argument. The jury was released to deliberate, but a mistrial was declared because several jurors independently researched the relevant medical conditions. At the second trial, the state called the same two expert witnesses. However, McKnight’s counsel called only the physician who admitted that cocaine could not be ruled out as a cause of death. McKnight’s counsel did not cross-examine any of the state’s experts or admit any medical research into evidence. The trial court instructed the jury that homicide by child abuse required a criminal intent of extreme indifference to human life and that criminal intent may arise from negligence, recklessness, or indifference to consequences. The jury requested a definition of criminal intent, but the trial court repeated the same instruction. After a 30-minute deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict. McKnight appealed, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The postconviction relief court found that counsel was not ineffective. The South Carolina Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Toal, C.J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 618,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 618,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 35,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 618,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 35,600 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership