Wednesday, February 27, 2013

United States v. Peterson case brief

United States v. Peterson case brief summary
483 F.2d 1222

SYNOPSIS: Appeal by defendant from a sentence of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia following a jury conviction for manslaughter in an altercation that resulted in a fatal shooting.

FACTS: Defendant appealed his conviction of manslaughter, claiming the trial court erred in instructing the jury to consider whether he was the aggressor in the altercation and whether he was justified in using deadly force despite his failure to retreat. Defendant shot and killed a man whom he accosted removing parts from defendant's junked car. An altercation ensued and defendant went into his home and returned with a loaded gun. The victim advanced with a lug wrench when he was shot. Defendant contended he was not required to retreat because he was within the curtilage of his dwelling. The appellate court disagreed and affirmed the conviction.

The court held the right of self-defense was unavailable to an aggressor, and the no-retreat rule if attacked at home was available only to those who were without fault in causing the conflict.

Self-defense is not an available defense to either (1) one who provokes conflict or is the aggressor in it or (2) one who does not retreat if he can safely do so.

OUTCOME: The judgment was affirmed on the grounds that the right of self-defense was unavailable to an aggressor, and the "no retreat in the home rule" was also unavailable to one who caused the conflict.
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