Larry Inman says that he’s not guilty of asking for bribes as a state representative because he has an opioid addiction. And the internet didn’t waste any time snarking up in response. Inman has asked the court to dismiss the case against him over the wishes of United States attorneys. Inman says that he couldn’t have meant to ask to take bribes because he’s addicted to opioids.
The obvious question is that if he believes he didn’t understand what he was doing when he asked for bribes, why in the world he thinks he’s still qualified to continue as a state representative. The people on the internet already thought of that along with questioning why the intoxication defense can’t work for all of us for whatever legal trouble we might get up to.
Is opioid addiction a defense to specific-intent crime like bribery?
Bribery is a specific intent crime. That means you have to actually mean to ask for a bribe in order to be guilty of asking for a bribe. You can’t accidentally ask for a bribe or be guilty because someone misunderstands. You have to know what you’re doing and mean to complete an unlawful act. But that doesn’t mean you can just say that you didn’t mean to do it and get away with whatever you meant to do at the time.
Here’s the jury instruction for a voluntary intoxication defense:
You may consider evidence of the defendant’s mental condition in deciding whether the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that [the defendant] acted with the intent to commit the act charged in the indictment…Voluntary intoxication and use of controlled substances alone will never provide a legal excuse for the commission of a crime. However, the fact that a person was under the influence of controlled substances at the time of the commission of the crime may negate the existence of specific intent.
So it can work as a defense, but only if you were actually voluntarily intoxicated to the point that you didn’t know what the words literally meant.
That kind of defense might be strawberry ice cream in Grand Traverse County, but this isn’t Grand Traverse County.
And we all thought the opioids card was to get out of having to resign from the legislature. Silly us.
The headlines are a little bit misleading. Inman isn’t asking the court to dismiss the case because of the opioid defense. Rather, he’s claiming jurisdictional issues and that his actions, even if true as the state alleges, don’t fit the crimes he’s charged with.
The motion to dismiss claims that Inman has immunity for his vote. While that may be true, he’s not charged with voting. Inman is basically saying that they can’t use the fact that Inman voted or how he voted as evidence against him.
Inman goes on to say that he doesn’t think the U.S. government has jurisdiction over votes in the state house. In other words, please send us back to Grand Traverse County where my political friends can take care of it for me.
And the motion asks for a bill of particulars. Eye roll. Does that ever work?