Man Hunt

Man Hunt

Claude Dallas was convicted of manslaughter in 1982 for the murder of police officers Conley Elms and Bill Pogue. His victims worked for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (Miller). Dallas considered himself a mountain man, and therefore, he was engaged in poaching and other unlawful activities. The two mentioned officers came to his camp since they wanted some information on the alleged poaching in the rural forests of Idaho. While Elms conducted a search in Dallas’ tent, another officer, Bill Pogue, drew his weapon, but Dallas was quicker to react, so was the first to shoot the officer. When Elms left the tent, he was also killed by a shot to the chest. Afterwards, Dallas used his 0.22 rifle to fire a shot into the head of each officer. Dallas’ friend was with him on that day, but he could not be an eyewitness of the crime since he personally did not see how Dallas had fired those shoots. Then, the man escaped from the scene of the crime. He tried to conceal all traces of his crime carefully. Claude Dallas also wanted to falsify the evidence of his crime. Claude Dallas was in hiding from the authorities for a long time.

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Claude Dallas cannot be found guilty based on of self-defense. The analysis of the criminal law shows that although excess protection is not directly seen in his actions, it is permissible in certain cases and circumstances. Therefore, such a protection may still be within the law. The most typical example is as follows. In the section “Crimes and Criminal Procedure”, the US Code of Law provides responsibility for a grave and simple murder. A characteristic of the murder of the first degree is the illegal deprivation of a person’s life with malicious intent. However, the murder of the second degree does not presuppose this intent. It is obvious that one of the circumstances of the murder can be a quarrel or the commission of this crime in a state of violent emotional unrest. Furthermore, in such cases, self-protection is also possible. Thus, there were no reasons for Claude Dallas to use his weapon, mainly because there was no threat to his life and health.

An officer on duty can bring their gun into combat readiness if they believe that in a particular situation they might have the reasons for its use. However, this does not indicate an intention to use it for the purpose of injuring the suspect. Nevertheless, not only did Claude make the initial shots but he also fired two control shots in the heads of both police officers. In other words, this shows his intention to commit a double murder. In the US criminal law, the issues of necessary defense are regulated in detail, but the term ‘necessary defense’ is absent and only the word ‘defense’ is used in the legislation. The institution of necessary defense in the federal legislation is not provided for. Moreover, the issues related to it are resolved in the state legislation and the US Provisional Criminal Code of 1962, which has had a serious impact on the reform of US criminal law in general. Its third section, called the “General Principles of Recognizing the Conduct of Law”, details some types of circumstances that exclude the crime of the act, in particular, the necessary defense (protection). Furthermore, several types of protection exist. They are the use of violence in such cases as self-defense, to protect others, to protect property, and the execution of the law. However, in the case of Claude Dallas, there was no reason to use the so-called protection.

According to the American law, murder is an illegal intentional or unintended deprivation of a person’s life. Therefore, crimes against life are differentiated into murder and manslaughter. According to the Federal Code of Laws, the latter is the unlawful deprivation of a person’s life without malicious intent. This type of crime includes intentional willful killing during a sudden quarrel or in a state of intense emotional unrest. Furthermore, manslaughter is considered in the case of imprudent causing of death, which means committing murder in parallel with an illegal act that is not a criminal offense or if it is committed by neglecting other constitutional rights. Moreover, intentional manslaughter refers to the murder of the first degree.

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According to the federal legislation, the illegal deprivation of a person’s life with malicious intent is recognized as a murder. This crime has two degrees. First-degree killings include causing death by poisoning, by a group of persons, or murders committed in a manner dangerous to others or while attempting to commit arson, rape, burglary or robbery or killing two or more people. Any other murder is considered to be that of the second degree. A murder is considered to have the first degree in the cases when the perpetrator intentionally causes death of another perso. At the same time, the law specifies such circumstances as the victim is known or supposedly known by the perpetrator as a policeman or an employee of  correctional institution and they have been killed while on duty, and in some other cases. Finally, if at the time of the crime the person responsible for it is over 18 years of age, this murder is considered first degree. Therefore, based on the previous explanation, one could state that Claude Dallas should have been found guilty for the first degree murder.

Claude Dallas had always dreamed of freedom and life in harmony with the natural world. While his classmates feared that they would be sent to the war in Vietnam, Claude channeled all his energy to fulfilling his dream and went to the West. He hiked to California, where he found a job at Alvord Ranch as a cowboy. This was facilitated by the canons of the time, in which he lived. Had Claude been born later, after he had escaped the crime scene, he would have been found most likely faster. The reason for this assumption is that nowadays, due to the fast development of criminology, it would be much easier to catch the perpetrator. Moreover, in modern time, he could have been convicted for a more serious crime, the punishment for which would be the death penalty or life imprisonment. Since the beginning of the 21st century, most executions are performed by means of lethal injection.

The English criminal doctrine and legislation distinguish three main types of causing death: murder, manslaughter, and infanticide. The responsibility for these types of death is established by the English Homicide Act of 1957, the Suicide Act of 1961, and the Law on Infanticide of 1938. Some issues related to the definition of murder, the interpretation of the signs of certain types of causing death are resolved in common law. However, with the adoption of the English Homicide Act of 1957, the English law has abandoned a number of obsolete doctrines and provisions, inherent in common law.

In English criminal law literature, several conditions of criminal liability for any kind of murder are mentioned. Firstly, the deprivation of human life means taking the life of a rational being, which means that it must be a person, not an animal. Secondly, murder can only be committed against a living person, and this raises the problem of determining the moment of the beginning and the ending of life. Moreover, English criminal law is based on the construction of a murder, which is the main type of this crime. Other types of deprivation of life are considered in theory and in practice as the derivatives of the former.

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The peculiarity of a murder in English law is the presence of malice aforethought. Therefore, to prosecute for murder, it is enough to have the intention to cause bodily harm that will have serious consequences. Moreover, the cases of murder could include those when the perpetrator generally did not want the onset of death or cause serious bodily harm to the victim, but they still foresaw such an opportunity and they did not care about it. Manslaughter is any unlawful deprivation of the life of another person, if it does not belong to the category of murder.

Therefore, Claude Dallas should have been found guilty of murder and not of the manslaughter, as it was in reality. There are several arguments for this opinion. Firstly, he made two control shots in the head after the initial ones and then hid the tracks and disappeared from the scene of the crime. Both facts are evidences of the direct intent, which is the main peculiarity of the murder of second degree. Secondly, he killed two people, and they were officers who performed their duties at the moment of crime. This can serve as a circumstance for a heavier punishment.

The concept of crime in the doctrine of Anglo-American criminal law presupposes the existence of two basic constitutive elements. The first one is criminal act – a material element that characterizes the objective side of the crime. The second one is the guilty state of mind – an element that characterizes the crime’s subjective side. Furthermore, an important prerequisite for criminal liability requiring mandatory determination, In the criminal law of England and the United States, this will be the criminal capacity of the person or sanity. Significant attention is paid in the legislation to the definition of the conditions that can exclude or reduce sanity of the subject of crime.

Under the general rule, the accused person must independently prove their insanity. At the same time, the prosecution may provide evidences that cast doubt on the fact of the defendant’s insanity at the time of the commission of the crime. In the case of Claude Dallas, it was possible that he was sane since there were no evidences to prove that he had not understood the illegality of the action that had committed. Moreover, his subsequent actions show his awareness of the wrongfulness of acts. For more precise establishment of the sanity of the suspect, it was necessary to appoint an expertise that would indicate whether he was sane at the time of the commission of the crime or not.

Perhaps, Polk had reasons for his actions, so it would be difficult to consider him unreasonable. Claude broke the law on poaching and he should have been responsible for his actions. Accodring to the Fourth Amendment, unreasonable searches and detentions are prohibited. The Amendment also requires that any search warrants be issued by the court in the presence of sufficient grounds, excluding the cases of federal legislation. According to the amendment, searches and detentions (including arrest) should be limited to the objectives, indicated in the court warrant. Therefore, the officers acted in accordance with the law and they had the right to search the tent and detain Claude Dallas. Furthermore, the officers had not done anything illegal that could serve as the basis for the defendant’s self-defense.

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