Sunday, November 17, 2013

People v. Walker case brief

People v. Walker case brief summary
204 N.E.2d 594 (1965)

Defendant appealed from the Criminal Court of Cook County (Illinois), which convicted him of murder. Defendant argued that he was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt but that in any event he was guilty of manslaughter and not murder.

Defendant's main argument was that he was guilty if at all of only manslaughter and not murder. The evidence showed that the deceased was drunk and approached defendant and others demanding that they gamble with him. The deceased became belligerent when they refused and advanced on them with a broken bottle. During the course of the ensuing fight with defendant and others, defendant was cut and he ultimately killed the deceased.


  • The court reversed the murder conviction and instructed the trial court to convict defendant of manslaughter. 
  • The court noted that the fight was continuous, defendant was injured, the deceased was the aggressor, and that insufficient time elapsed to "cool the blood" before the killing occurred. 
  • Under the circumstances the crime was manslaughter, not murder. 
  • The court had the authority under Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 38, § 121-9(b)(4) (1963) to reduce the degree of the offense on review.

The court reversed the trial court's judgment of conviction for murder and remanded the case with directions to enter a finding of guilty of voluntary manslaughter and to impose sentence accordingly.

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