To: [Your name] From: Supervising Attorney
Re: Commonwealth v.Jones; assault by means of a dangerous weapon—lightning This is a bizarre case to say the least. We have been appointed by the court to represent Sedrick Jones in the case of Commonwealth v. Jones. Mr. Jones is charged with attempted murder, battery, false imprisonment, and assault with a dangerous weapon. Mr. Jones has had a stormy 10-year relationship with Elizabeth Steward. The relation-ship has been marked by multiple instances of domestic violence. They live in a cottage located on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. On April 5 of this year, after an extended bout of drinking and arguing, Mr. Jones dragged
Ms. Steward outside and tied her to the lightning rod attached to the cottage. This took place during a violent electrical storm. When he tied her to the pole, he said, "I'll fix you, you're gonna fry." Lightning did not strike the pole. This act is the basis of the assault by means of a dangerous weapon charge. The state claims that the dangerous weapon is lightning.
Please prepare a memo addressing the question of whether there is a sufficient basis to support the charge of assault by means of a dangerous weapons.
Statutory Law: G.L. c. 265, § 15A, Assault and Battery with Dangerous Weapon (state of Massachusetts), provides: "(b) Whoever, by means of a dangerous weapon, commits assault and battery upon another shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years...."
Case Law: Commonwealth v. Shea, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 7, 644 N.W.2d 244 (1995) (see Appendix A).