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United States v. Williams

United States District Court of Maryland
332 F. Supp. 1 (1971)


Woodrow Williams (defendant) drank heavily during the day on December 3, 1970. That night, Williams continued to drink and took six or seven barbiturate pills. Williams continued to drink into the next day and also took some LSD pills. Williams then went into a store and requested a piece of paper. He tried to write something on it, then balled up the paper and threw it on the floor. Williams asked for another piece of paper, wrote something on it, and left. The store owner looked at the crumpled-up paper, which said, “This is a stick.” After that, Williams went to the Maryland National Bank and requested a loan for Christmas. The employees at the bank who observed Williams noted that he smelled of alcohol and that his eyes looked red or sleepy. The employees did not see anything unusual about the way he walked. One employee thought that his speech was understandable but a little slurred. The bank rejected his request for a loan, and Williams went to a teller and handed her a note. The note said, “This is a stickup.” The teller gave Williams $4,727, and Williams left. The federal government (plaintiff) charged Williams with robbery. During the trial, Williams argued that he did not have the necessary intent to commit robbery because of his intoxication. Williams presented testimony from a psychiatrist, who believed that Williams knew what he was doing, but his judgment about the appropriateness of his actions and his ability to control them were significantly impaired by his intoxication. The prosecution also presented testimony from a psychiatrist, who stated that Williams likely could not conform his conduct to the requirements of the law at the time of the robbery, based on his intoxication. The psychiatrist did not have an opinion on whether Williams could specifically intend to rob a bank. The trial court found Williams guilty, and he appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Murray, J.)

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