Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,300+ case briefs...

United States v. Biggs

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
441 F.3d 1069 (2006)


Donzell Biggs (defendant) was in prison serving a life sentence for murder. Biggs was in the administrative-segregation unit, where inmates were confined to two-person cells for 23 hours of the day. For one hour per day, the inmates were in a recreation cell with three other inmates. During this recreation hour, Biggs attacked fellow inmate Michael Smith with a homemade knife. Biggs claimed that Smith threatened Biggs on the way to the recreation cell and that Biggs knew Smith had been trying to acquire a knife from other inmates. Based on these facts, Biggs alleged that his use of force against Smith was self-defense. Biggs pled guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of contraband in prison. However, Biggs reserved the right to appeal on the ground that the district court erred in finding that Biggs had not made a prima facie case for self-defense. The district court determined that Biggs had failed to demonstrate a lack of reasonable alternatives to the use of force against Smith and rejected Biggs’s claim of self-defense. Biggs appealed the decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Beezer, 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 457,000 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 457,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,300 briefs, keyed to 984 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