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Davidson v. United States

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

May 5, 2016

JORIDA DAVIDSON, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES, Appellee.

Argued April 5, 2016

Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (CF1-18988-10) (Hon. Lynn Leibovitz, Trial Judge)

Thomas T. Heslep for appellant.

Karen P. Seifert, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Channing D. Phillips, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman, John P. Mannarino, and Michael C. Liebman, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.

BEFORE: Glickman, Fisher and Easterly, Associate Judges.

JUDGMENT

This case came to be heard on the transcript of record and the briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, and as set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby

ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the appellant's conviction is affirmed.

OPINION

John R. Fisher, Associate Judge.

Appellant Jorida Davidson challenges her voluntary manslaughter conviction, arguing primarily that the trial court erred by denying her request for a jury instruction on voluntary intoxication. We affirm.

I. Background

We briefly recite the facts relevant to the issues now before us.[1] Appellant, who had been socializing with friends and consumed at least three glasses of wine and champagne, was driving home in her sport utility vehicle when she hit and killed Kiela Ryan. Ms. Ryan was exiting the rear driver's side door of a car that was parallel parked on the right side of Connecticut Avenue, near Dupont Circle. The evidence at trial, viewed favorably to the government, showed that appellant was driving erratically, making unsafe lane changes, speeding, and driving too close to the parked cars. Appellant did not slow, stop, or honk before or after hitting Ms. Ryan with such force that she was propelled ten feet forward, onto the back of the car parked in front, ultimately landing on the ground between the two cars.

The collision took place at approximately 1:30 a.m. A witness followed appellant from the scene on his bicycle and wrote down her license plate number. Around 2:30 a.m., police discovered appellant slumped over and asleep in the driver's seat of her vehicle, parked in her assigned spot in the garage underneath her condominium building. She smelled of alcohol and was holding the keys in her hand. The police performed standard field sobriety tests at the police station, and appellant showed signs of intoxication. Appellant refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Ms. Davidson did not testify. In this trial, she was charged only with voluntary manslaughter, for causing Ms. Ryan's death by acting "with a conscious disregard of an extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury to another." The judge used the ...


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