Criminal Defense Analysis
Self-defense is the justification of the threat or use of force when an individual feels that they are in immediate or imminent danger to their life or bodily harm. The cases I researched were UNITED STATES V. PETERSON, 483 F.2D 1222 (D.C. CIR. 1973), OPINION BY: ROBINSON, J. and PEOPLE V. CEBALLOS, 526 P.2D 241 (CAL. 1974), OPINION BY: BURKE, J. In both cases the defenses entered a contest of self-defense. In the case of UNITED STATES V. PETERSON, the defendant claimed self- defense based on the fact that deceased, Charles Kiett put Peterson’s life in danger once Kiett advanced toward Peterson with a lug wrench raised in his hand. In the case of the PEOPLE V. CEBALLOS, the defendant after noticing pry marks on his garage door set up a trap utilizing a .22 caliber pistol. In both cases the defenses were found to not be justifiable. In the case of UNITED STATES V. PETERSON, PETERSON was not acquitted of the charges and found guilty of manslaughter. Regarding the case of the PEOPLE V. CEBALLOS, CEBALLOS was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.
Charles Kiett, the deceased in the case of UNITED STATES V. PETERSON was returning to one of his vehicles that he had parked in the alley behind Peterson’s house to obtain some windshield wipers. Peterson left his house with a pistol and stood in his yard facing the alley. With the pistol in his hand Peterson told Kiett “If you come in here I will kill you.” Kiett responded by retrieving a lug wrench from his car and motioning toward Peterson with the wrench raised. Peterson gave multiple warnings before firing a shot which struck Kiett in the head. The defense suggests that Peterson was in his yard at the time of the shooting which alludes to defense of property. Furthermore, Kiett who had the lug wrench meant to cause harm to Peterson. Upon autopsy of the deceased it was discovered the Kiett had a blood alcohol level of .29....
References: Contemporary Criminal Law. Concepts, Cases, and Controversies, Second Edition
Chapter 8: Justifications
ISBN: 9781412981293 Author: Matthew Lippman
copyright © 2010 Sage
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