Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Patterson v. New York

United States Supreme Court
432 U.S. 197 (1977)



Gordon Patterson, Jr. (defendant) had a brief and unstable marriage with his wife, Roberta. After they separated, Roberta began seeing an old boyfriend. Patterson borrowed a rifle from an acquaintance and shot the boyfriend, killing him. Patterson was charged with second-degree murder. At trial, Patterson raised the state-recognized affirmative defense that he had acted under extreme emotional disturbance. The jury was instructed that Patterson had the burden of proving his affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence. If Patterson proved the affirmative defense, it would have mitigated the second-degree murder charge to manslaughter. The jury found Patterson guilty of second-degree murder and he appealed. The Court of Appeals of New York affirmed the conviction and rejected Patterson’s argument that the burden of proving extreme emotional disturbance fell on the state, not on Patterson. Patterson appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Dissent (Powell, J.)

What to do next…

  1. 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 498,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. 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. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 498,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 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.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial