Knapp v. State Case Brief

Summary of Knapp v. State, 168 Ind. 153 (1907)

Facts: D killed a man and claimed that was acting in self-defense. Claimed that he was afraid of the victim because he had heard that victim had killed an old man. Prosecution introduced evidence that the old man died of natural causes. D objects to this evidence by arguing that the truth or falsity of the story he heard not at issue in trial so evidence not relevant.

Issue: Was the evidence of old man’s death relevant?

Holding: Yes

Rationale: This evidence was not presented to prove that the statement heard by D was false. But it was presented to prove that since old man died of natural causes, it was less likely that D had actually heard the statement from anyone. Therefore, this evidence is relevant because it makes D’s defense less likely.

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