Criminal Law Keyed to Dressler
Attorney General for Jersey v. Holley Government (P) v. Murder defendant (D)
Holley (D) and the deceased were both alcoholics in a long-term stormy relationship. They often had quarrels and were both violent. The deceased often attacked Holley’s self-esteem. After a day of heavy drinking and arguing by both partners, the deceased left and afterward returned to their apartment, telling Holley she had just had intercourse with another man. Holley had been chopping wood, and he picked up the axe, upon which she taunted him with not having the guts to use it. On this, he hit her seven or eight times, killing her. At his first trial for murder, he was found guilty, despite pleading provocation and despite the defense forensic psychiatrist finding that his severe chronic alcoholism was a disease and led to involuntary alcohol intake. The court of appeals overruled the verdict finding that the jury instruction was improper. On retrial he was again found guilty of murder, but the appellate court again set the verdict aside on account of improper instruction, but sentenced him to life imprisonment. On further appeal, the court set aside the murder conviction again and imposed a verdict of manslaughter and eight years imprisonment. Holley appealed again.
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