Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Davis case brief

State v. Davis case brief summary
51 S.E.2d 86 (1948)

Defendant appealed his conviction entered by the Circuit Court of Florence County (South Carolina), for murder. Defendant contended that in establishing his plea of self-defense, he had a right to claim immunity from the law of retreat since the shooting took place in a cornfield where defendant had worked.

Defendant had an argument with the victim on the day of the murder. Later that night, defendant went to the store. The victim also arrived at the store and defendant overheard the victim ask the store owner to borrow a gun because he believed that defendant was going to shoot him. When the store owner refused the victim stated that he could get a gun somewhere else and left. Defendant testified that in overhearing the conversation, he became alarmed and went home and got a shotgun. On returning to the store through a cornfield defendant testified that he met the victim there who was carrying a rifle. Defendant contended that he shot and killed the victim in self-defense. Defendant was convicted for murder. Defendant appealed and contended that he had no duty to retreat from the cornfield because he had done some work for the owner of the field in cultivating the corn.


  • The court affirmed and held that the cornfield was not defendant's place of employment. 
  • Defendant could not claim immunity under the law of retreat because his presence in the cornfield was wholly unrelated to his employment.

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

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