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Judge Lynch

A JURY found that petitioner brutally beat a man to death, rejecting defenses of justification, based on theories of self-defense and defense against burglary, and lack of causation, based on doubts petitioner attempted to raise about the medical examiner’s testimony and the claim that the blows petitioner admitted to striking were not severe enough to cause death. Petitioner, sentenced to imprisonment for 25 years to life, petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus. The court denied the petition, agreeing with the trial court that petitioner’s asserted belief that he was defending his nephew against forcible sodomy was not a defense and could not be the subject of testimony at trial. The court noted that at the time of petitioner’s attack on the victim, the victim was nowhere near the child and there was no basis for the jury to determine that petitioner could have had a reasonable belief either that the victim was presently engaged in assaulting petitioner’s nephew or that such an assault was “imminent.”

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