Criminal Jury instructions for the District of Columbia
Fifth Edition (2014)
Instruction 9.510. DEFENSE OF A THIRD PERSON
Every person has the right to use a reasonable amount of force in defense of another person if (1) s/he actually believes that the other person is in imminent danger of bodily harm and if (2) s/he has reasonable grounds for that belief. The question is not whether looking back on the incident you believe that the use of force was necessary. The question is whether [name of defendant], under the circumstances as they appeared to him/her at the time of the incident, actually believed that the person s/he was seeking to defend was in imminent danger of bodily harm, and could reasonably hold that belief. Defense of another person may be a defense to the charge(s) of [insert all charges to which defense applies].
[A person may use a reasonable amount of force in defense of another person, including, in some circumstances, deadly force. “Deadly force” is force which is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm. A person may use deadly force in defense of another person if s/he actually believes at the time of the incident that person is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from which s/he can save that person only by using deadly force against the assailant, and if his/her belief is reasonable.]
[Even if [name of defendant] was justified in using force in defense of another person, s/he would not be entitled to use any greater force than s/he had reasonable grounds to believe and actually did believe to be necessary under the circumstances to save the other person’s life or avert serious bodily harm.]
[In deciding whether [name of defendant] used excessive force in defending another person you may consider all the circumstances under which s/he acted. A person acting in the heat of passion caused by an assault does not necessarily lose his/her claim of defense of a third person by using greater force than would seem necessary to a calm mind. In the heat of passion, a person may actually and reasonably believe something that seems unreasonable to a calm mind.]
[Name of defendant] is not required to prove that s/he acted in the defense of another person. If evidence of defense of another person is present, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [name of defendant] did not act in the defense of another person. On the other hand, if the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that [name of defendant] did not act in defense of another person, along with each other element of the offense, then you must find him/her guilty of the offense of [insert name of offense(s)]