Tuesday, April 10, 2007

SC Supreme Court reverses Court of Appeals on self-defense charge

In State v. Slater, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision and held that Slater was not entitled to a self-defense charge when he approached an altercation with a loaded weapon at his side. Apparently, Slater approached a fight, startled one of the attackers, the attacker fired at Slater, and Slater ran and returned fire while fleeing.

Slater fails to meet the first requirement for the self-defense charge: specifically, Slater was not without fault in bringing on the difficulty. “Any act of the accused in violation of law and reasonably calculated to produce the occasion amounts to bringing on the difficulty and bars the right to assert self-defense.” Bryant, 336 S.C. at 345, 520 S.E.2d at 322. In the instant case, the record clearly reflects that Slater approached an altercation that was already underway with a loaded weapon by his side. Such activity could be reasonably calculated to bring the difficulty that arose in this case.

I find this a little hard to agree with. I think the Court of Appeals got it right. Just because he investigated a fight when carrying a loaded weapon should not deprive him of self-defense if he immediately tried to remove himself from the situation and did not fire the first shots.

No comments: