Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

People v. Goetz

Court of Appeals of New York
497 N.E.2d 41 (N.Y. 1986)

People v. Goetz

Facts

Bernhard Goetz (defendant) boarded a subway train. Four youths, Troy Canty, Darryl Cabey, James Ramseur, and Barry Allen approached Goetz and said, “give me five dollars.” Two of the four had screwdrivers in their pockets, but the group was otherwise unarmed. Goetz pulled out an unlicensed gun and shot all four of them, leaving one paralyzed. Goetz told the conductor that the youths tried to rob him. Goetz fled but later surrendered to the police. Goetz told the police he did not think the youths had weapons but was afraid of being “maimed,” because he had been mugged in the past. Goetz was brought before a grand jury. The grand jury indicted Goetz on weapons charges, but the attempted murder and assault charges were dismissed. The prosecution was permitted to resubmit the charges to the grand jury on the basis of new evidence. That grand jury indicted Goetz on ten counts, including attempted murder and assault. Goetz moved to dismiss, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support the charges and the prosecutor’s jury instructions were invalid. Specifically, the prosecutor instructed the jurors that the state’s justification defense depended on a finding that Goetz had acted as “a reasonable man in his situation” would have. The lower court dismissed the charges, concluding that the prosecutor’s inclusion of an objective element of self-defense in the instructions was erroneous. The prosecution appealed, and the appellate division affirmed. The prosecution then appealed to the Court of Appeals of New York.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wachtler, 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 97,000 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 241,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 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.