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Alexander v. State

Maryland Court of Special Appeals
447 A.2d 880 (1982)


Facts

Ralph Alexander (defendant), an inmate in the Maryland Penitentiary and a fellow inmate, Bruce Shreeves, were charged with assault on a correctional officer, Dale Tscheulin. At trial, prosecution witnesses testified that Tscheulin was first attacked by Shreeves and that Alexander later joined in the fray. Alexander and his witnesses, however, testified that another correctional officer, Samuel Stokes, Jr., had grabbed Shreeves from behind, without provocation, and that Tscheulin came to the scene and started hitting Shreeves. When Alexander approached Tscheulin to say that he did not have to “beat on” Shreeves, Alexander testified that Tscheulin then turned around and struck him. Alexander then said he pinned Tscheulin between himself and the cell bars, but did not strike Tscheulin. Thereafter, Alexander said he returned to his cell. The trial court instructed the jury on Shreeves’ right of self-defense as well as Alexander’s right of self-defense. The court further noted that “...if Shreeves had the right to defend himself, then Alexander had the right to go help him defend himself; if Shreeves did not have the right to defend himself, then Alexander didn't have the right to go help Shreeves defend himself.” Alexander and Shreeves were convicted and they appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Lowe, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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