Self Defense in State College Fight

Client and a friend were walking on a sidewalk in State College when the friend bumped into another male. The friend and the other man began fighting. While Client was watching the fight, another male sucker punched Client in the face. Client tackled his assailant and held him to the ground. A State College police officer arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and took Client into custody. Client asserted that he had only engaged in the fight to protect himself. Client was charged with Disorderly Conduct for engaging in fighting behavior with another Penn State student.

Client retained State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle to provide representation at the summary hearing. At the hearing, the officer testified that he saw Client on top of another male and Client appeared to have been fighting. Attorney Dunkle had Client testify that he only became involved in the fight after he was unexpectedly struck in the face and did so only in self-defense. In Pennsylvania, when evidence of self-defense is presented a trial, the prosecution is required to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Here, the officer admitted that he did not see how the fight had started and had no evidence to refute Client's claim of self-defense. After hearing all the testimony, the judge found Client not guilty of Disorderly Conduct.