Other than a firearm and certain other obvious (stun guns) items, the Indiana criminal code does not provide a great deal of guidance on what is a deadly weapon for purposes of the exercise of deadly force. It is pretty obvious why this is the case as virtually any object, used in a skillful way, can cause serious bodily injury or death.
By statute, a “deadly weapon”1 is something that is used, could ordinarily be used or is intended to be used that is readily capable of causing serious bodily injury (or death). I an important case decide earlier this year, this Indiana Court of Appeals held that repeatedly slamming a victim’s head on an asphalt drive six times and smashing the victim’s skull made the paved asphalt surface a “deadly weapon” because it was akin to a rock or similar item, even though the drive was fixed in place.2
This case left open the question of what would occur if the injury was not serious—is the asphalt a “deadly weapon”? Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals answered that question.3 In the Clemons case, Ms. Clemons attacked her neighbor as she walked near her home and hit her with a metal rod. The Court of Appeals affirmed Clemons felony conviction for battery with a deadly weapon.
However, in the dissent, it noted that not all injuries caused by the rod (or asphalt in the other case), would necessarily cause serious bodily injury. Therefore, the dissent noted that in future criminal cases, the jury instructions should include both definitions of a “deadly weapon” and also “serious bodily injury”. Thus, this case reflects the checks and balances—and oversight--on Indiana trial court’s decisions in bench and jury trials. An appeal, such as in this case, is a matter of right.
This blog demonstrates the very technical nature of criminal law, particularly where it involves the use of deadly force, a deadly weapon, and serious bodily injury. Thus, if you or a loved one is involved in such a case, it is crucial to obtain a criminal defense counsel who understands the complexities of criminal law, which may mean the difference between freedom and imprisonment.
This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handles criminal cases, with a particular focus on crimes involving the use of force, throughout the State. This blog post is provided as general informational background and is not s solicitation for legal services or specific legal advice. It is advertising material.