Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Leidholm case brief

State v. Leidholm case brief summary
334 N.W.2d 811 (1983)

A North Dakota court convicted the Defendant of manslaughter.
The Defendant appealed that order, arguing that the trial court wrongly instructed the jury on the self-defense issue.

The Defendant stabbed and killed her husband after they drank and argued throughout the night.

  • The court reversed the ruling of the lower court, stating that the trial court's instruction on self-defense was a misstatement of the law which concerned a vital issue in her defense.
  • This amounted to error which required a new trial.
  • The court held that the defendant's conduct should not be judged by what a reasonably cautious person would or would not do or consider necessary to do under like circumstances.
  • The court said that the standard should have been what a defendant in good faith honestly believed and had reasonable ground to believe was necessary for her to do so to protect herself from death or great bodily injury.
  • The court said that the lower court should have directed the jury to take into account both the psychological as well as the physical properties that were peculiar to the defendant before deciding whether or not the circumstances that surrounded her at the time that she used force was sufficient to create in her mind a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary in order to protect herself from imminent and unlawful harm.

The lower court's order which convicted the defendant of manslaughter was reversed and the case was remanded for a new trial.

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