Holly was walking along Northern Avenue when suddenly a masked man came at her out of nowhere and slashed at her face. The attack was so violent that Holly suffered multiple injuries to her face including a split lip, near loss of vision in her left eye and slit off her ear. For all practical purposes she was almost unrecognizable. All that the thief gained were a few dollars and a credit card.
She had to undergo surgery to restore her facial muscles. After spending a lot of money and effort on the part of her doctors, not to mention the pain she had to suffer, most of her face was restored in twelve weeks.
There was outrage in her neighborhood and the police were under pressure to book the culprit quickly. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait for too long as the unsuspecting thief used Holly’s credit card at a fuel station and was soon arrested. They booked him under aggravated mayhem laws of the state.
Everyone deserves a fair trial and in this case, the accused got one too. The facts of the case were put before the criminal court and the judge soon gave his verdict. The thief was fined enough to compensate the medical bills that Holly had to suffer and also for other losses. But the judge did not convict him with aggravated mayhem.
Different forms of Mayhem
Why did the judge not convict the accused with this higher degree of mayhem? For this, you will need to understand the difference between the two acts as per California law, which is where the crime had taken place.
Causing physical injury which results in the loss of certain parts of the body such as the lip, eye, ear or others may be viewed as “mayhem”. The defense tried to argue that since Holly’s face was medically corrected, the accused should not be convicted with this charge. Unfortunately for him, the judge dismissed this argument stating that the law clearly details that such an argument does not mitigate the charge of mayhem.
When it came to aggravated mayhem, the defense argued that the accused had no intention to cause permanent loss of limb or other organs. The prosecution found it difficult to prove otherwise and the judge allowed the argument and convicted the accused with only mayhem.
This case shows the importance of knowing the difference of two very closely related terms with respect to law. Moreover, it shows that a lawyer should take advantage of these differences for the benefit of his client.Google+