MD CJI&C § 8.13(A). Self-Defense: General Instruction

MD CJI&C § 8.13(A). Self-Defense: General Instruction

State: Maryland

2 MD Criminal Jury Instructions and Commentary § 8.13(A)
Maryland Criminal Jury Instructions and Commentary, Third Edition
Chapter 8 DEFENSES
L. Self-Defense

CJI&C § 8.13(A). Self-Defense: General Instruction

Evidence has been presented that (insert name of defendant) acted in self-defense. Under certain circumstances, a person has the right to use a reasonable amount of force in self-defense.

In order to justify (insert specific crime(s) to which the defense applies) on the basis of self-defense, all of the following four elements must exist: (insert name of defendant) must have:

(1) actually believed that [he] [she] was in imminent or immediate danger of [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death] from [his] [her] assailant or potential assailant;

(2) had reasonable grounds for that belief;

(3) had not used any more force than was reasonably necessary to defend [himself] [herself] from the threatened or actual harm; and,

(4) had not been the aggressor of the attack [unless (insert name of defendant) was the aggressor using deadly force and withdrew from the fight] [unless (insert name of defendant) started the fight with non-deadly force and (insert name of victim) then escalated the fight to the deadly force level].

In considering the evidence relating to self-defense, the question is not whether you believe, looking backward in time, that the use of force was necessary. The question is whether the defendant, under the circumstances as they appeared to [him] [her] at the time of the incident, actually believed [he] [she] was in imminent or immediate danger of [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death] and had reasonable grounds for that belief. In considering the reasonableness of the defendant’s belief, you should consider whether the circumstances under which the defendant acted were such as would produce in the mind of a reasonable person, similarly situated, the belief that [he] [she] was in imminent or immediate danger of [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death].

[To be given when the defendant asserts mistake of fact: The defendant was justified in using force in self-defense, even though it may have turned out afterwards that the appearances were false, if [he] [she] had reasonable grounds to believe, and in fact believed, that [he] [she] was in imminent or immediate danger of [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death]. [This is true even if the defendant discovered after the incident that (insert name of victim) did not intend to inflict [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death], and there was no need to use [deadly] force in self-defense.]]

The burden of proof is on the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that self-defense does not apply in this case. Therefore, the State must prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that one of the four elements of self-defense does not exist. This means the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

(1) (insert name of defendant) did not believe [he] [she] was in imminent or immediate danger of [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death] from the assailant or potential assailant; or,

(2) (insert name of defendant)’s belief concerning whether [he] [she] was in imminent or immediate danger of [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death] was unreasonable; or

(3) (insert name of defendant) used an unreasonable amount of force in defending [himself] [herself]; or,

(4) (insert name of defendant) [was the aggressor of the attack using deadly force and did not withdraw from the fight] [was the aggressor of the attack using non-deadly force and (insert name of victim) did not raise the fight to the deadly force level].

[You may still find the defendant acted in self-defense, even if [he] [she] armed [himself] [herself] with a weapon in advance of or in anticipation of the fight with (insert name of victim), provided you find that the defendant had reason to fear an attack, and [he] [she] was not the aggressor of the attack, meaning the defendant did not seek out the encounter with (insert name of victim).]

By | 2018-04-06T07:16:24+00:00 April 6th, 2018|Comments Off on MD CJI&C § 8.13(A). Self-Defense: General Instruction