Thursday, November 21, 2013

United States v. Hamilton case brief

United States v. Hamilton case brief summary
182 F. Supp. 548 (1960)

Defendant was tried by the court on the charge of murder in the second degree. The trial was without a jury because defendant waived his right to trial by jury.

Defendant and the deceased were in a fight when the deceased was knocked down in the course of the fight, and defendant jumped on his face and kicked his face, inflicting wounds of which the deceased later died. The deceased was taken to the hospital for treatment. During the deceased's stay at the hospital, he had a convulsion, and immediately thereafter, he himself, with his own hands, pulled out the tubes that were assisting him to breathe. The cause of death was found to be asphyxiation due to aspiration or inhalation of blood caused by severe injuries to the face. Defendant claimed that the immediate cause of death was the fact that the deceased pulled out the tubes, and that, therefore, he brought about his own death.


  • The court found defendant guilty of manslaughter. 
  • The court held that even if the act of the deceased in pulling out the tubes was conscious and deliberate, it would not have helped defendant. 
  • The court held that there was not sufficient evidence to justify a finding that if the tubes had remained the deceased would have lived. 
  • The court concluded that there was no malice on the part of defendant.

The court found defendant guilty of the lessor-included offense of manslaughter after he was tried on the charge of murder in the second degree.

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