Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The self-defense instruction was a major contributing cause to the Saturday night debacle.
A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is
necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.
In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you
must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was
used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify
the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably
cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the
danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George
Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.
If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any
place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his
ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was
necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent
the commission of a forcible felony.
In considering the issue of self-defense, you may take into account the relative physical
abilities and capacities of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the
question of whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you should
find George Zimmerman not guilty.
However, if from the evidence you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that
George Zimmerman was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him guilty if all
the elements of the charge have been proved.
Notice something missing?
Judge Nelson did not instruct the jury that an aggressor cannot claim self-defense and that a person who aggressively follows another person is an aggressor. That was the heart of the prosecution case.
Go here to see the instructions.
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