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State v. Fair

211 A.2d 359 (1965)

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State v. Fair

New Jersey Supreme Court

211 A.2d 359 (1965)

Facts

On the morning of the incident, Dollie Fair (defendant) fixed Aaron Rudesel, her sweetheart of eight months, some breakfast and went across the street to another apartment for some drinks. Rudesel, in the meantime, went to the store and ran into John B. Lynn (defendant), who accompanied Rudesel back to his apartment. Rudesel then went to the apartment across the street to collect Fair and, upon their return, the group had some drinks. Rudesel started to berate Fair for having gone across the street and hit her in the mouth. Fair grabbed a paring knife from the kitchen table and struck at Rudesel. Rudesel grabbed Fair’s hands and, threatening to get even, pulled a knife out of his pocket and cut Fair on the finger. Lynn jumped up in response and intervened on Fair’s behalf as she ran out the back door and up the stairs to another apartment to call the police. According to another witness, Rudesel stated that Lynn had stabbed him. Both Fair and Lynn were charged in a single indictment with the murder of Rudesel. Fair was convicted of second-degree murder and Lynn of manslaughter. The trial court included an instruction on self-defense, i.e., the right of each defendant to defend himself or herself, but did not include the right of Lynn to intervene in defense of Fair. Lynn appealed his conviction, challenging such omission as plain error by the trial court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Haneman, J.)

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