Friday, September 14, 2012

State v. Norman case brief

State v. Norman (NC Sup. Ct. 1989) – D was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. App Ct. granted a new trial because the trial court refused to submit a possible verdict of perfect SD.
20 years of abuse…burns prostitution…suicide attempts. D tried several avenues to protect herself.
Holding: The Supreme Ct of NC found that it was not a necessity to kill her husband because she shot him 3 times while he was sleeping. It was therefore not life threatening. She also was not entitled to imperfect SD.
  • Perfect Self-Defense: At the time of the killing it appeared to D and she believed it to be necessary to kill her husband to save herself from imminent death or great bodily harm.
  • Imperfect Self-Defense: When D is the initial aggressor, but without intent to kill or to seriously injure the decedent and decedent escalates the confrontation to necessity for D.
Rule: There is a difference between inevitable and imminent. Just because D thinks her abuse is inevitable does not mean that it’s imminent. To hold otherwise would relax the definition of imminent. Therefore, the court erred in granting new trial.

Non-confrontational SD – The majority of BWS prosecution involves women who kill their abusers in the course of a direct confrontation. However, flexibility on women who kill in SD due to BWS is growing.

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