Criminal Law Case Study Discussion Board

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1. Read the following case study.

2. Answer ALL questions by incorporating them into one essay. Use proper paragraphing to include an introduction and conclusion.

3. Review NCGS 14-51.2 (located in the attachment below) and base your answers on this statute.

The Case

Aiken [the Defendant] and the victim had been next-door neighbors in an apartment building for roughly forty years. The two families had a falling out in 1994 or 1995 when a disagreement arose when the victim accused the defendant of siphoning his family’s cable and telephone service. The service providers found no basis for this accusation.

In 1997, the victim stabbed Aiken in the back resulting in his hospitalization. The two families continued to live next to one another from 1997 to 1999. This could not have been pleasant because the victim continually “threatened to shoot, stab or otherwise injure defendant. He made these threats to defendant’s face, to his father and to neighbors—at one point even brandishing a boxcutter.”

On December 21, 1999, Aiken and the victim argued through the shared bedroom wall between their apartments. The defendant took a metal pipe and dented his side of the wall. The victim’s mother called the police, and the victim left his apartment to go downstairs and open the building’s front door for the police. The defendant remained inside his apartment, walked to the front door several times, and then opened the door when he saw the victim standing outside his door with a friend.

“Still holding the metal pipe he had earlier used to hit the wall, the defendant then engaged in an angry argument with the victim, who remained in [the defendant’s] doorway. . . . [H]e [the defendant] continued standing in the doorway, never going into the hall, when the victim reached into his pocket, came up to defendant’s face ‘nose to nose,’ and said ‘he was going to kill’ him.”

The defendant believed that he was about to be stabbed once again and hit the victim in the head with the metal pipe, killing the victim who collapsed and died in the hallway outside the door.

The trial court instructed the jury that “a person may . . . not use defensive deadly force if he knows he can with complete safety to himself avoid such use of deadly physical force by retreating.” The trial court refused the defendant’s request to “charge the jury that, if a defendant is in his home and close proximity of a threshold of his home, there is no duty to retreat.”

Review NCGS 14-51.2 (located in the attachment below) and base your answers on this statute.

Answer ALL questions by incorporating them into one essay.

Do you agree with these jury instructions? Why or why not?

Was Aiken in his home for the purposes on the castle doctrine? Did Aiken have the duty to retreat in this particular case? What factors should be examined to determine whether or not the castle doctrine was applicable to this situation? [Consider the key factors in NCGS 14-51.2]

Considering the legal equation for self-defense, did Aiken act in self-defense in killing the victim? Why or why not?

What factors in this scenario would have to be different in order to afford Aiken a perfect affirmative defense using the castle doctrine?

5. Do not forget to spell check and submit to the Safe Assign link.

6. Don’t forget to include an introductory paragraph and a concluding paragraph.


Even if it is listed as a question, you never need to summarize the facts of any case since the cases are provided for all to read either in the text or within a link.

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