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Gatlin v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
833 A.2d 995 (2003)


Susan Ferrechio, a newspaper reporter, entered a Washington, D.C., charter school to interview staff and students for a story. The school’s principal, Mary Anigbo (defendant), and a teacher, Brenda Gatlin (defendant), confronted Ferrechio, hit and kicked her, and took a notebook. Immediately thereafter, Ferrechio was physically removed from the school. Ferrechio later returned to the school, accompanied by another reporter and a photographer. Two police officers, David Poe and Darrell Best, arrived at the school to investigate. After the reporters and officers entered the main office, the photographer began taking pictures of Anigbo and Gatlin. Anigbo and Gatlin attacked the photographer and two reporters. During the altercation, Anigbo and Gatlin pushed the two police officers. The District of Columbia (plaintiff) charged Anigbo and Gatlin with assault and other crimes. At a bench trial, Anigbo testified that the notebook Ferrechio took belonged to Anigbo and that she assaulted Ferrechio to reclaim her property. The trial court denied the defendants’ request for a jury instruction on defense of property because it concluded that the notebook did not belong to Anigbo. The trial court convicted Anigbo and Gatlin of assaulting Ferrechio, the photographer, and the two police officers. Anigbo and Gatlin appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Reid, J.)

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