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Criminal Law keyed to Dripps
People v. Goetz
Citation:68 N.Y.2d 96, 506 N.Y.S.2d 18, 497 N.E.2d 41.
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On December 22, 1984, Troy Canty, Darryl Cabey, James Ramseur, and Barry Allen boarded a subway in the Bronx and heading toward lower Manhattan. Ramseur and Cabey carried screwdrivers that they alleged were to be used to break into video machine coin boxes. Goetz boarded the train at 14th Street in Manhattan and sat down on a bench on the same car as the youths. Goetz was carrying an unlicensed .38 caliber pistol loaded with five rounds of ammunition in a waistband holster. Canty and Allen approached Goetz and Canty told Goetz “give me five dollars.” None of the youths displayed any weapons. Goetz responded by standing up, pulling out his gun and firing four shots. The first hit Canty in the chest, the second struck Allen in the back, the third hit Ramseur’s arm and side, and the fourth missed Cabey. After surveying the scene, Goetz then approached Cabey and shot again severing his spinal cord. Goetz surrendered to police on December 31, 1984 admitting to illegally carrying the handgun for three years and that he had purchased the gun in 1981 after having been injured in a mugging.
At the indictment, the prosecutor chose to charge the justification defense to the Grand Jury due to Goetz statements he acted to protect himself. One of the grand jurors asked for clarification on the term “reasonably believes” as found in Section 35.15 to which the prosecutor responded that they must determine “whether the defendant’s conduct was that of a reasonable man in the defendant’s situation.”
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