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State v. Hinkle

200 W.Va. 280, 489 S.E.2d 257 (1996)

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State v. Hinkle

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

200 W.Va. 280, 489 S.E.2d 257 (1996)

Facts

West Virginia (plaintiff) prosecuted Charles Rhea Hinkle (defendant) after Hinkle's car crashed into another vehicle, killing one of that vehicle's occupants. At trial, Hinkle testified that he was unconscious at the time of the accident, and two witnesses corroborated Hinkle's testimony. A medical expert testified that a hitherto undiagnosable brain disorder could have caused the loss of consciousness to which Hinkle attributed the accident. Prior West Virginia cases treated pleas of unconsciousness as included within the insanity defense, and therefore Hinkle pleaded that he was insane at the time of the accident. The judge instructed the jury only that Hinkle suffered from a cognitive disorder. The jury convicted Hinkle and he appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cleckley, J.)

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