State the courts definition of (imminent) danger.
Charles E. Haynes (Defendant-Appellant) entered a conditional plea of guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, to assault. Haynes appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
Nelson Flores-Pedroso was playing dominoes after lunch in the cafeteria of the federal prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, when Charles Haynes emerged from the kitchen and poured scalding oil on his head. Severely burned over 18 percent of his body, Flores-Pedroso is disfigured for life. Haynes pleaded guilty to assault, and was sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment (consecutive to the ten-year term he was serving for a drug offense). The guilty plea reserved the right to argue on appeal that the district judge erred in foreclosing Haynes from arguing to the jury that the attack was justified as a measure of self-defense.
Self-defense? How can a sneak attack be self-defense? Haynes made an offer of proof that Flores-Pedroso was a bully who had a reputation for coercing smaller inmates (such as Haynes) to provide favors of all kinds-food, commissary items, and sex. About a month before the incident in the cafeteria, Flores-Pedroso began pressuring Haynes to use Haynes’ position as a food preparer in the kitchen to do favors for him. Haynes refused, and in response Flores-Pedroso threatened to make Haynes his “bitch” (homosexual plaything).
For the next month stare downs and jostling occurred, while Flores-Pedroso kept up a stream of threats. One time Flores-Pedroso cornered Haynes in a bathroom, and Haynes thought that rape was imminent, but another inmate entered and Flores Pedroso left.
A day before Haynes poured the oil, Flores-Pedroso picked up Haynes and slammed him to the ground within sight of a guard, who did nothing. On the day of the oil incident, Flores-Pedroso told Haynes that as soon as food service was closed for the afternoon he would “finish what he started.” Haynes contends that he believed that he would be attacked as soon as he left the cafeteria, and that he struck first in order to protect himself.