MD CJI&C § 8.13(G). Self-Defense: Battered Spouse, Child, Cohabitant Syndrome

MD CJI&C § 8.13(G). Self-Defense: Battered Spouse, Child, Cohabitant Syndrome

State: Maryland

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

CJI&C § 8.13(G). Self-Defense: Battered Spouse, Child, Cohabitant Syndrome (Suggested Instruction)

I have instructed you on the general requirements of self-defense. In order to justify (insert specific crime(s) to which the defense applies) on the basis of self-defense (insert name of defendant) must have: (1) actually believed that [she] [he] was in imminent or immediate danger of [bodily harm] [serious bodily harm or death] from [her] [his] assailant or potential assailant; (2) had reasonable grounds for that belief; (3) not used any more force than was reasonably necessary to defend [himself] [herself] from the threatened or actual harm; and (4) not been the aggressor of the attack [unless (insert name of defendant) was the aggressor using [deadly force] [non-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].

You have heard evidence that the defendant was a victim of repeated physical and psychological abuse by (insert name of victim). You have also heard from an expert witness that a person who is a victim of repeated physical and psychological abuse by a [spouse] [former spouse] [child] [(cohabitant) (co-occupant)] [former (cohabitant) (co-occupant)] may suffer from a psychological condition called “Battered [Spouse] [Woman] [Child] Syndrome.” [Also, you heard expert testimony that the defendant exhibits the characteristics consistent with “battered [spouse] [woman] [child] syndrome”.]

You must determine based on a consideration of all of the evidence whether the defendant was a victim of repeated physical and psychological abuse by (insert name of victim), and if so, whether [she] [he] suffered from “Battered [Spouse] [Woman] [Child] Syndrome.”

If you determine that (insert name of defendant) suffered from battered [spouse] [woman] [child] syndrome, then you should consider this evidence for the purpose of explaining ’s (insert name of defendant) motive or state of mind, or both, and [her] [his] beliefs and perceptions at the time of the commission of the alleged offense in order to determine whether the requirements of self-defense exist. Specifically, you may consider this evidence in determining the degree to which it:

(1) explains whether (insert name of defendant) actually believed in the necessity to use deadly force to defend [herself] [himself] against imminent or immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death;

(2) sheds light on the reasonableness of ’s (insert name of defendant) belief that [she] [he] was in imminent or immediate danger of serious physical harm or death. In assessing reasonableness, the issue is whether a reasonable person in the defendant’s circumstances would have perceived or seen a threat of serious physical harm or death;

(3) helps explain the reasonableness of the force used by (insert name of defendant) in response to the perceived threat;

(4) [To be used only when the defendant has a duty to retreat before using deadly force: Before a person can use deadly force based on self-defense, [she] [he] has a duty to make a reasonable effort to retreat or to avoid the danger if [she] [he] could do so safely. If there is no safe place available, [she] [he] is not required to retreat before resorting to the use of deadly force. If you determine that (insert name of defendant) suffered from battered [spouse] [woman] [child] syndrome, then you should also consider this evidence in determining the reasonableness of [his] [her] belief that there was no safe place of retreat available or that [he] [she] was unable to retreat to avoid the danger]; and

(5) [To be used only if the defendant testifies: If you determine that the defendant suffered from battered [spouse] [woman] [child] syndrome, then you may consider this evidence in evaluating the believability or credibility of the defendant’s testimony.]

[Evidence of battered [spouse] [woman] [child] syndrome is not in itself a defense to the crime of (specify crime(s) to which the defense applies). It has been admitted to assist you in determining whether the requirements of self-defense are present in this case.]

By | 2018-04-06T07:24:12+00:00 April 6th, 2018|Comments Off on MD CJI&C § 8.13(G). Self-Defense: Battered Spouse, Child, Cohabitant Syndrome