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United States v. Hamilton

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
182 F. Supp. 548 (1960)


Facts

Hamilton (defendant) engaged in a fight with another man outside a pool hall. During the altercation, Hamilton knocked the other man down, jumped on his face, and kicked him in the head. The victim, bleeding, violent, and in shock, was taken to a hospital, where tubes were inserted into his nose and trachea to allow him to breathe. Because of his violent behavior, the victim was placed in handcuffs, which were subsequently removed when his bed clothes were changed and his violence subsided. After having a convulsion the next morning, the victim pulled out the tubes and died shortly thereafter. Hamilton was charged with homicide and tried in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia before a judge without a jury. Two expert witnesses testified that the victim died from asphyxiation caused by the inhalation of blood. Hamilton argued that he could not be convicted of homicide because the victim caused his own death by pulling out the tubes. [The decision discussed below was rendered by the trial judge. There is no record of an appeal.]

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Holtzoff, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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