Maryland Pattern Jury Instructions-Criminal (MPJI-Cr)

MD MPJI-Cr 5:07 Self-defense

You have heard evidence that the defendant acted in self-defense. Self-defense is a complete defense and you are required to find the defendant not guilty if all of the following four factors are present:

(1) the defendant was not the aggressor [[or, although the defendant was the initial aggressor, [he] [she] did not raise the fight to the deadly force level]];
(2) the defendant actually believed that [he] [she] was in immediate and imminent danger of bodily harm;
(3) the defendant’s belief was reasonable; and
(4) the defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend [himself] [herself] in light of the threatened or actual harm.

[Deadly force is that amount of force reasonably calculated to cause death or serious bodily harm. If you find that the defendant used deadly-force, you must decide whether the use of deadly-force was reasonable. Deadly force is reasonable if the defendant actually had a reasonable belief that the aggressor’s force posed an immediate and imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm.]

[[In addition, before using deadly-force, the defendant is required to make a reasonable effort to retreat. The defendant does not have to retreat if [the defendant was in [his] [her] home], [retreat was unsafe], [the avenue of retreat was unknown to the defendant], [the defendant was being robbed], [the defendant was lawfully arresting the victim]]. [If you find that the defendant did not use deadly-force, then the defendant had no duty to retreat.]

In order to convict the defendant, the State must prove that self-defense does not apply in this case. This means that you are required to find the defendant not guilty, unless the State has persuaded you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that at least one of the four factors of complete self-defense was absent.