Addington v. United States - 165 U.S. 184 (1897)
U.S. Supreme Court
Addington v. United States, 165 U.S. 184 (1897)
Addington v. United States
Submitted December 15, 1896
Decided February 1, 1897
165 U.S. 184
The refusal of the trial court to grant a new trial cannot be assigned for error in this Court.
In the trial of a person for murder, the court in substance instructed the jury that, while manslaughter was the intentional taking of human life, the distinguishing trait between it and murder was the absence of malice, that manslaughter sprang from a gross provocation, which rendered the party temporarily incapable of the cool reflection which would otherwise make the act murder, and that, while the law did not wholly excuse the offense in such case, it reduced it from murder to manslaughter. Held that this, being for the benefit of the accused, was not error of which he could complain.
An instruction in such case that if the circumstances were such as to produce upon the mind of the accused, as a reasonably prudent man, the impression that he could save his own life or protect himself from serious bodily harm only by taking the life of his assailant, he was justified by the law in resorting to such means, unless he went to where the deceased was for the purpose of provoking a difficulty in order that he might slay his adversary, is not error.
The case is stated in the opinion.