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People v. Ligouri

Court of Appeals of New York
31 N.E.2d 37 (1940)


Around 3:00 p.m. on a public street in Brooklyn, Giro Ligouri (defendant) and William Panaro (defendant) (collectively Defendants) shot and killed Nicholas Cosaluzzo. The Defendants were indicted for first-degree murder. At trial, Ligouri testified to killing the man, but claimed that Cosaluzzo had a gun pointed at him. At the close of the evidence, Ligouri requested the trial court to instruct the jury that a person who is feloniously attacked is under no obligation to retreat, but may stand his ground and, if necessary, kill his attacker. The trial judge refused and instructed the jury that a person who is being attacked has a duty to retreat as far as possible, unless the person believes that he is in such imminent danger of irreparable injury that the only thing he could do was use deadly force, and to do no more force that is necessary to repel the attacker. The Defendants were found guilty of second-degree murder and they appealed. The appellate division affirmed Defendants’ convictions and the Court of Appeals of New York granted review.

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Holding and Reasoning (Sears, J.)

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