MA III. DEFENSE OF PROPERTY

MA III. DEFENSE OF PROPERTY

State: Massachusetts

Massachusetts District Court: Criminal Model Jury Instructions

MA III. DEFENSE OF PROPERTY

A person may use reasonable force, but not deadly force, to defend his lawful property against someone who has no right to it.

A person may also use reasonable force, but not deadly force, to regain lawful possession of his property where his (her) possession has been momentarily interrupted by someone with no right to the property.

Finally, a person may also use reasonable force, but not deadly force, to remove a trespasser from his property after the trespasser has been requested to leave and has refused to do so.

If there is evidence in this case that the defendant used force in (that situation) (any of those situations), you must find the defendant not guilty unless the Commonwealth has proved one of two things beyond a reasonable doubt: either that a reasonable person in the defendant’s position would not have believed that force was necessary in order to (defend) (regain possession of) (remove a trespasser from) his ( her) property; or that the defendant used force that was deadly or unreasonable.

Deadly force is force that is intended to, or likely to, kill or seriously injure someone. It refers to the level of force the defendant used, not to the degree of injury, if any, to [alleged victim].

How much force is reasonable may vary with the situation. Exactness is not always possible and you may take into account whether the defendant had to decide how to respond quickly under pressure. A person who uses what is clearly excessive and unreasonable force becomes an aggressor and loses the right to act in defense of his (her) property.

By | 2013-01-14T21:08:53+00:00 January 14th, 2013|Comments Off on MA III. DEFENSE OF PROPERTY