As prosecutor, I would proceed with the charges of manslaughter against bartender Scott Mayo as a result killing Basil Scowen. In Tennessee we have the state law of involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter (Wagner, 2013). Involuntary manslaughter is assault with a deadly weapon resulting from criminal negligent or reckless behavior. Voluntary manslaughter consists of a homicide where the perpetrator may have acted in self-defense believing the situation required deadly force (Ibid). I know that according to Tennessee Codes 39-13-212, 39-13-215 the defendant may make every effort to claim self-defense. I believe this could be the case because defendant Scott Mayo had every right to be armed in Tennessee with a pistol in the bar where he was bartending. The ownership of the pistol was never questioned or answered in the question, but one must assume that Mr. Mayo owned the weapon and did not have felonies preventing him from being in possession of a firearm. Additionally, based on testimony from two witnesses who were present during the altercation, relative of their proximity to the altercation the claim to self-defense is ever present especially as the defendant informed police officers that Scowen told him while holding the beer bottle “I am going to kill you.” As identified in Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the accused has the right to an attorney before and during questioning but more importantly the accused has the right against self-incrimination before official police questioning. The defendant was present for work, the deceased victim, Basil Scowen chose to visit the place of employment of the defendant and antagonize him for the money owed to him from the defendant. Although Mayo owed Scowen money, owing someone money is not a crime. What makes my case more difficult, is Mayo was placed under arrest without being read his Miranda Rights. There was not reasonable suspicious or a need to doubt that Mr. Mayo committed the offense of killing Mr. Scowen. Reading him his rights and advising him that he could remain silent was never documented (Miranda v. Arizona). I would need to be prepared for the defense to argue that Mayo did not offer any submission of information, rather the arresting officers questioned him which could be exaggerated to the form of interrogating him. After his arrest and being taken to the local county jail, he may have been further questioned while not having received his Miranda Rights and been informed of his charges which impede on due process. I would also expect if this case was dropped based on the failures of the arresting officers, the family could pursue civil charges.
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
Wagner, J. (2013). Standing your ground in tennessee: Change in law of self-defense. Firearm Laws. FMS LLP.
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