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Law v. State

Maryland Court of Special Appeals
318 A.2d 859 (1974)


Facts

After his home had been broken into several times, a highly-agitated James Cecil Law, Jr. (defendant) purchased a shotgun for “home protection.” Late one evening while Law and his wife were asleep a neighbor became suspicious and called the police after seeing what she thought was a light flickering inside Law’s home. Two police officers quietly arrived outside Law’s home and began inspecting the premises for a burglar. Instead of knocking on the front door and announcing themselves, the officers went around back and began using their flashlights to look inside the house. The officers entered the back screened porch to check the Law’s back door and saw a windowpane that had been replaced temporarily with a few pieces of molding. As one of the officers removed the molding Law awoke believing that someone was attempting to break into his home again. Law went downstairs. As one of the officers placed his hand inside the window, Law shot and killed him. After the other officer began to fire his weapon into the house, Law shot and injured him. Law was charged with and convicted of second-degree murder and assault with intent to murder. Law appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lowe, J.)

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