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Tag Archives: Self-Defense

Criminal Practice – Jury Instructions – Murder – Self-Defense – Continuing to Shoot – Immunity (access required)

State v. Marin Where the trial court instructed the jury that a person may use deadly force when he reasonably believes it is necessary to do so under the circumstances, it was the trial lawyer’s responsibility to argue how the principle of law affected the facts of the case; i.e., that defendant was justified in firing a second shot at the victim.

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Criminal Practice – Manslaughter – Jury Instructions – Self-Defense (access required)

State v. Jackson Our Court of Appeals held, Where it was unclear whether defendant or the victim started their fight, the trial court should have instructed the jury on self-defense. We affirm the trial court’s exclusion of evidence of the victim’s violent history, but we reverse its refusal to charge the jury on self-defense. We conclude that the writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals’ decision was improvidently granted. Dismissed.

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Panel: Jury instructions should have included habitation (access required)

A wheelchair-bound paraplegic convicted of murder in connection with a 1999 shooting death may get another trial after the Court of Appeals ruled that a trial judge should have instructed the jury on the defense of habitation, which doesn't include a duty to retreat. Thomas T. Bryant was convicted after a Richland County judge instructed the jury on self-defense. He was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. In a Dec. 15 ruling, the appeals court reversed and remanded for a new trial after Bryant argued that the trial judge erred in not charging the jury on both defenses. A lawyer for Bryant, Robert M. Dudek (pictured), said a new trial would allow his client to rely on defense of habitation in addition to self-defense.

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