SC Chapter 8 – defenses. Defense of others

SC Chapter 8 – defenses. Defense of others

State: South Carolina

 

South Carolina Criminal Jury Charges

SC Chapter 8 –  defenses.  Defense of others

Under the law of self-defense, the defendant may take another’s life in the defense of others. The right to intervene to protect another person is subject to the same rights and limitations as the right of self-defense.

The defendant may take the life of person who assaults a friend, relative, or bystander if that friend, relative, or bystander would have had the right of self-defense.

To show that the person being defended had the right of self-defense, it must first be shown that the person begin defended and the defendant were both without fault in bringing on the difficulty.  If the conduct of the person defended or the defendant was the type which was reasonably calculated to, and did, provoke a deadly assault, the person would be at fault in bringing on the difficulty and would not have the right of self-defense.  Therefore, the defendant would not have the right to use deadly force in defending that person.

The defense of another person is excusable if the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe, and in good faith did believe, that the person being defended was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from the victim.

In deciding whether the person defended actually was, or that the defendant actually believed the person was, in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, you should consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime, including the physical condition and characteristics of the parties.

Right to act on appearances

The defendant does not have to show that the person the defendant defended was actually in danger.  It is enough if the defendant believed the person was in imminent danger.  The defendant has the right to act on appearances even though the defendant’s beliefs may have been mistaken.  The defendant must show that, under the circumstances as they appeared to the defendant, the defendant believed the person defended was in danger and that a reasonably prudent person of ordinary firmness and courage would have had the same belief under the same circumstances.

  it is for you, the jury, to decide whether the defendant’s fear of immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury to the person defended was reasonable and would have been felt by an ordinary person in the same situation.  The defendant does not have to wait until the victim gets the drop on the person defended; the defendant has the right to act under the law of self-preservation to prevent the victim from getting the drop on the person defended.

Words accompanied by hostile acts

Words accompanied by hostile acts may, depending on the circumstances, establish self-defense.

Prior difficulties

Evidence of prior difficulties between the person defended and the victim may be considered in deciding whether a threat existed, whether the defendant had a reason to believe a threat existed, and how serious that threat was. 

Size and age

The relative sizes, ages, and weights of the parties may be considered in deciding the apparent or actual need for force in self-defense and the amount of force needed.

Victim’s violent reputation

The reputation of the victim as a violent person may be considered in deciding whether there was a need for force, whether the defendant had reason to believe there was a need for force, and whether deadly force was reasonably necessary.

Prior violence by victim

Prior instances of violence by the victim may be considered in deciding whether the defendant actually believed the person defended was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury or was actually in imminent danger.

Threats by the victim

Threats made by the victim may be considered in determining whether the defendant actually believed the person defended was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury or was actually in imminent danger.

Intoxication

The intoxication of the victim may be considered in deciding whether the defendant’s fear of death or bodily harm to the person defended were reasonable.

Duty to retreat

In order to be entitled to defend another, the person defended must have had no other probable way to avoid the danger of death or serious bodily injury than to act as the defendant did in this particular instance.

Where the person being defended had no duty to retreat, the defendant likewise would have no duty to retreat.

Premises

If the person defended was on his (her) own premises, the defendant had no duty to retreat before acting in defense of another.

Business

If the person defended was in his (her) place of business, the defendant had no duty to retreat before acting in defense of others.

Increased risk of harm

The defendant had no duty to retreat if, by doing so, the danger of being killed or suffering serious bodily injury would increase.

Lawful guest

A lawful guest in another’s home has no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense against an intruder.  A lawful guest is a person who enters the premises of another by either express or implied invitation.  However, a guest has a duty to retreat, where possible, if the attacker is the owner or occupier of the property.

By | 2013-03-01T11:29:03+00:00 March 1st, 2013|Comments Off on SC Chapter 8 – defenses. Defense of others