'Dangerous Instruments': A Case Study in Overcriminalization

43 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2019 Last revised: 22 Nov 2019

See all articles by Chad Flanders

Chad Flanders

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Desiree Austin-Holliday

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Many states - including Missouri - have provisions that provide greater punishment for some felonies that are committed with, or by the use of, a ... deadly weapon" or "dangerous instrument." The definition of "deadly weapon" tends to be pretty straightforward, usually a list that includes several specific items that just are deadly weapons, such as guns and knives. "Dangerous instrument" is deliberately left as a broader, more capacious term - defined not in terms of a list of instruments but in terms of those things that could be easily or "readily" used to cause serious physical injury or death. But precisely because of the broad sweep of what counts as a dangerous instrument, and the role circumstances can play in making something dangerous, courts in Missouri have taken widely divergent stances on the definition of "dangerous instruments," both in general and in particular cases.

Suggested Citation

Flanders, Chad and Austin-Holliday, Desiree, 'Dangerous Instruments': A Case Study in Overcriminalization (2018). Missouri Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 2, Spring 2018; Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-13 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466891

Chad Flanders (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

Desiree Austin-Holliday

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

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