From our private database of 35,400+ case briefs...
Martin v. Ohio
United States Supreme Court
480 U.S. 228 (1987)
During an argument, the husband of Earline Martin (defendant) hit her in the head. According to Martin, she picked up her husband’s gun to get rid of it. When the husband saw something in Martin’s hand, he lunged at her. Martin lost control and fired the gun at her husband, killing him. Martin was charged with aggravated murder, which Ohio law defined as purposely causing another’s death with prior calculation and design. Martin pleaded self-defense, an affirmative defense under Ohio law, which the defendant has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence. The judge rejected Martin’s contention that placing the burden on Martin to prove self-defense violated her right to due process, and the judge instructed the jury that a conviction required a finding that: (1) the state had proved each element of aggravated murder beyond a reasonable doubt, and (2) none of the self-defense evidence had raised a reasonable doubt that Martin purposely killed her husband with a prior design. The jury was also instructed that an acquittal required a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that Martin acted in self-defense and: (1) did not start the argument with her husband, (2) honestly believed that she was an imminent danger, and (3) satisfied any duty to retreat. The jury convicted Martin, and Martin appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Dissent (Powell, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 616,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 616,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 35,400 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.