Francis v. Franklin Case Brief

Facts of the Case

During events following defendant’s taking of a hostage and escape from custody, a shot he fired killed an individual on the other side of a closed door. Defendant denied firing the shot voluntarily or intentionally and claimed that shots were fired in accidental response to the slamming of the door. The jury was instructed that a person’s acts were presumed to be the product of his will and that a person was presumed to intend the consequences of his acts, but that such presumptions could be rebutted. Defendant sought habeas relief from his state court malice murder conviction on the grounds that he lacked the requisite intent to kill. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the decision denying defendant’s habeas petition because the jury instruction on intent impermissibly shifted to the defendant the burden of proving intent. The government petitioned for certiorari.


Does the Louisiana Criminal Defamation Statute unconstitutionally infringe on the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of speech?



Case Information

Citation: 471 US 307 (1985)
Argued: Nov 28, 1984
Decided: Apr 29, 1985
Case Brief: 1985