State v. Chiarello

174 A.2d 506 (1961)

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State v. Chiarello

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
174 A.2d 506 (1961)

Facts

John Chiarello (defendant) worked at a campground. Late one night, Chiarello heard someone shouting for help. Chiarello went outside with a loaded rifle and saw two coworkers kicking and choking a third coworker, William Edwards, who was on the ground. Chiarello shouted for the attackers to stop, but they did not. One of the attackers appeared to pull something out of a pocket. Chiarello then saw blood coming from Edwards’s body, and Edwards stopped moving. Chiarello fired two shots and again yelled for the attackers to stop. When the attackers did not stop, Chiarello fired two more shots. All four bullets hit the attackers, who both lived. Chiarello was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Chiarello’s defense was that he had been trying to save Edwards. At trial, the court instructed the jury that Chiarello should be treated as Edwards’s alter ego, which meant that Chiarello was allowed to use deadly force to defend Edwards only if Edwards could have lawfully used deadly force in self-defense. The jury found that Edwards could not have lawfully used deadly force and convicted Chiarello. Chiarello appealed, arguing that even if he had been mistaken about the amount of force needed to defend Edwards, he had acted in good faith and not with the mens rea, i.e., guilty mind, necessary to commit a crime.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Conford, J.)

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