If one makes a felonious assault upon another, or has created appearances justifying the other to launch a deadly counterattack in self-defense, the original assailant cannot slay his adversary in self-defense unless he has first, in good faith, declined further combat, and has fairly notified him that he has abandoned the affray. However, when the victim of simple assault responds in a sudden and deadly counterassault, the original aggressor need not attempt to withdraw and may use reasonably necessary force in self-defense.
Appellant was convicted of simple assault and battery with the infliction of serious bodily injury, which denied his motion for mistrial and motion for new trial. He sought review of the grounds that the verdicts were contrary to the law or evidence. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeal of California.
Were the convictions proper?
The court held that the evidence supported the lower court's convictions. The court held that appellant's victim was justified in using deadly force in response to appellant's attack because he acted reasonably upon the appearances that his life was in danger. The court held that appellant's subsequent beating of his victim after the victim's use of deadly force was not justified because once he rendered his victim incapable of inflicting injury, there was no justification for further retaliation. The court held that the trial court did not err in failing to instruct the jury because even though appellant and his victim were both members of the same household, his victim had the right to defend himself against a violent attack in his own house.