The Court of Appeals in Dawkins v. U.S., decide on July 26, 2018, reversed a manslaughter conviction based on erroneous and incomplete jury instructions on technicalities of the self-defense law and its application. An effective employment of self-defense can negate or diffuse the malice of an intentional act.   That is, even an intentional killing based on a valid self-defense is not malicious and thus it is excused and accordingly no crime at all. Here the defendant was in a fistfight with the victim and as the fight escalated, the defendant fatally stabbed the victim as claimed in the self-defense. The DC law does not impute a duty to walk away from using a non-deadly force when it is necessary to defend oneself. However there is duty to retreat when applying a deadly force and when it is reasonable to do so and does not put oneself in grave harm of serious injury or death. The defendant challenged on appeal the trial court’s self-defense instruction in that…

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