MN 7.05 Self-Defense—Generally

MN 7.05 Self-Defense—Generally

State: Minnesota

10 Minn. Prac., Jury Instr. Guides–Criminal CRIMJIG 7.05 (6th ed.)

October 2017 update

Part I. The General Part

1. General Principles of Criminal Law

Chapter 7. Defenses—Miscellaneous

CRIMJIG 7.05 Self-Defense—Justifiable Taking of Life

In Defense of Self [1]

The defendant asserts the defense of the justifiable taking of a life.

No crime is committed when a person takes the life of another, even intentionally, if the person’s action was taken in resisting or preventing an offense [2] the person reasonably believed exposed (him) (her) (or another) to death or great bodily harm.

In order for the taking of a life to be justified for this reason, four conditions must be met. First, the defendant’s act must have been done in the belief that it was necessary to avert death or great bodily harm. Second, the judgment of the defendant as to the gravity of the peril to which (he) (she) (or another) was exposed must have been reasonable under the circumstances. Third, the defendant’s election to defend must have been such as a reasonable person would have made in light of the danger perceived and the existence of any alternative way of avoiding the peril. Fourth, there was no reasonable possibility of retreat to avoid the danger. All four conditions must be met.

The legal excuse of self-defense is available only to those who act honestly and in good faith. This includes the duty to retreat [3] or avoid the danger if reasonably possible.

The State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.

In Defense of Dwelling

The defendant has asserted the defense of a justifiable taking of life in defense of a dwelling.

No crime is committed when a person takes the life of another, even intentionally, if the person’s action was taken in preventing the commission of a felony in the defendant’s (dwelling) (place of abode).

In order for a killing to be justified for this reason, three conditions must be met. First, the defendant’s action was done to prevent the commission of a felony in the dwelling. Second, the defendant’s judgment as to the gravity of the situation was reasonable under the circumstances. Third, the defendant’s election to defend (his) (her) dwelling was such as a reasonable person would have made in light of the danger perceived. All three conditions must be met. The defendant has no duty to retreat.

The legal excuse of self-defense is available only to those who act honestly and in good faith.

The State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.

Footnotes:

1. Note that in cases where the defendant claims to have acted in self-defense but contends that the killing was accidental, CRIMJIG 7.06 (Self-Defense – Death Not the Result) is more appropriate.

2. The offense must be an offense against the person. See M.S.A. §§ 609.06 and 609.065.

3. There is no duty to retreat, even against a co-resident, when acting in defense of one’s dwelling. State v. Glowacki, 630 N.W.2d 392 (Minn. 2001).

By | 2018-04-20T07:22:27+00:00 December 11th, 2016|Comments Off on MN 7.05 Self-Defense—Generally