Monday, October 29, 2007

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions concerning [Armed] Self-Defense

"The court, in effect, said-or the jury may, not unreasonably, have understood the court as declaring-that preparation by arming, although for self-defense only, could not be followed, in any case, by manslaughter, if the killing, after such arming, was not, in fact, in necessary self- defense. Such we understand to be the meaning of the charge. In our opinion, the court erred in so charging the jury. If the accused was justified in the eye of the law in arming himself for self-defense,[Page 153 U.S. 183, 192] and if, without seeking, but on meeting, his adversary, on a subsequent occasion, he killed him, not in necessary self-defense, then his crime was that of manslaughter or murder, as the circumstances, on the occasion of the killing, made it the one or the other. If guilty of manslaughter, looking alone at those circumstances, he could not be found guilty of murder by reason of his having previously armed himself solely for self- defense."
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- Mr. Justice HARLAN, U.S.Supreme Court, Gourko v. U.S., April 16, 1894.
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"...The principal question in the case arises out of those parts of the charge in which the court instructed the jury as to the principles of the law of self-defense..."
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"...'A man may repel force by force in defense of his person, habitation, or property against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a known felony, such as murder, rape, robbery, arson, burglary, and the like, upon either. In these cases he is not obliged to retreat, but may pursue his adversary until he has secured himself from all danger; and if he kill him in so doing it is called justifiable self-defense..."
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- Mr. Justice HARLAN, U.S.Supreme Court, Beard v. U.S., May 27, 1895.
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Other United States Supreme Court Decisions Concerning: The Right of [Armed] Self Defense;

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