Cantera v. State

The Facts

After the defendant shot the victim, the defendant chased when the victim was fleeing. The victim was shot three more times regardless of begging for his life and killed thereafter. In fact there was no evidence that the defendant behaved either negligently or recklessly.

Procedural History

The judgment was affirmed at the appellate level.


A charge on simple assault is not required in every case involving aggravated assault which can be committed in different ways. Some types of aggravated assault include elements of simple assault others do not necessarily. The crime can be regarded as accomplished one even at the level of attempt. “Perpetrator could be found guilty of aggravated assault for having attempted to commit a violent injury to the person of another, or for having committed an act that placed another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury through the use of a deadly weapon.”

The Issue

The Supreme Court has examined (a) whether the initial trial court made error in conviction; and (b) whether conviction can be mitigated to a simple assault. To this end the Court has had to test factual evidence, particularly, concealing the death of another, and using a firearm in commit criminal act, on base of statutory elements of aggravated assault.

The Holding/Reasoning

Attempting to cause a violent injury with a deadly weapon is a reasonable ground to reject a charge of simple assault. As perpetrator simply shot the victim intentionally and for no apparent reason, there took place the act of aggravated assault by using a deadly weapon offensively.  The defendant actually did try to cause serious bodily harm which gave a jury a solid evidence of general intent. Hence, “there is no need for the trial court to instruct the jury on simple assault in connection with its charge on aggravated assault. Because intent was not in question, the trial court did not commit any error at all by failing to instruct the jury on simple assault under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20(a) in connection with its charge on aggravated assault under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21. Hence, the Supreme court of Georgia found, inter alia, that the investigation gave sufficient evidence to make defendant guilty of all the criminal acts for which he was convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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