Tennessee Pattern Instructions (T.P.I).  Section 40.00. Defense


[IMPORTANT: Replaced by TN — CRIM. 40.06(b) effective 5/22/2007.]

Included in the defendant’s plea of not guilty is [his] [her] plea of self-defense.

When a person is assaulted, by the [use of force] [attempted use of force], in such a way as to create in his or her mind a reasonable belief that he or she is in imminent and actual danger of [death] [serious bodily injury], he or she will be justified in [threatening] [using] force to defend himself or herself even to the extent of killing another human being.  The [threat] [use] of force can only be to the degree reasonably believed to be immediately necessary to protect against the other’s [use] [attempted use] of unlawful force.  The danger creating the belief of imminent [death] [serious bodily injury] must be real, or honestly believed to be real at the time, and must be founded upon reasonable grounds.

A person may have been mistaken, based on his or her  perception of the circumstances, as to the extent of the actual danger, but if he or she acts in self-defense from honest, even though mistaken, convictions as to the extent of danger he or she will not be held criminally liable for his or her action.

In determining whether the defendant’s [threat] [use] of force in defending [himself] [herself] was reasonable, you may consider not only [his] [her] [threat] [use] of force but also all the facts and circumstances surrounding and leading up to it.  Factors to consider in deciding whether there were reasonable grounds for the defendant to fear [death] [serious bodily injury] from the [deceased] [alleged victim] include but are not limited to any previous threats of the [deceased] [alleged victim] made known to the defendant; the character of the [deceased] [alleged victim] for violence, when known to the defendant; the animosity of the [deceased] [alleged victim] for the defendant, as revealed to the defendant by previous acts and words of the [deceased] [alleged victim]; and the manner in which the parties were armed and their relative strengths and sizes.

If you find that the defendant’s fears of [death] [serious bodily injury] were genuine and reasonable under the circumstances, then [he] [she] would have had the right to [threaten] [use] as much force as was apparently necessary in [his] [her] own self-defense.  If, on the other hand, you find that the defendant was not genuinely or reasonably fearful of [death] [serious bodily injury], or that [he] [she] [threatened] [used] force going beyond the real or apparent necessity for [his] [her] own defense, then [his] [her] [threat] [use] of force would not have been justified.

[There is no duty to retreat before a person [threatens] [uses] force.]

[The [threat] [use] of force against another is not justified if the defendant provoked the [deceased’s] [alleged victim’s] [use] [attempted use] of unlawful force, unless the defendant abandoned the encounter or clearly communicated to the [deceased] [alleged victim] the intent to do so, and the [deceased] [alleged victim] nevertheless [continued] [attempted] to use unlawful force against the defendant.]

[If the [deceased] [alleged victim] had become disarmed or helpless, or all danger to the defendant had disappeared, then the defendant’s right to self-defense would not justify [his] [her] further [threat] [use] of force.]

[The [threat] [use] of force against another is not justified if the defendant consented to the exact force [used] [attempted] by the other individual.]

[The [threat] [use] of force against another is not justified to resist an [arrest] [search] [stop and frisk] [halt at a roadblock] that the defendant knows is being made by a law enforcement officer unless the law enforcement officer [uses] [attempts to use] greater force than necessary to make the [arrest] [search] [stop and frisk] [halt] and the defendant reasonably believes that the force is immediately necessary to protect against the law enforcement officer’s [use] [attempted use] of greater force than necessary.]

[Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury within his or her own residence is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence, and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.]

“Force” means compulsion by the use of physical power or violence.

“Imminent” means near at hand; on the point of happening.

[“Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves:  a substantial risk of death; protracted unconsciousness; extreme physical pain; protracted or obvious disfigurement; or protracted loss or substantial impairment of a function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty.]

If evidence is introduced supporting self-defense, the burden is on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.

If from all the facts and circumstances you find the defendant acted in self-defense, or if you have a reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant acted in self-defense, you must find [him] [her] not guilty.