ATTORNEY QUESTION OF THE MONTH

This month’s column is based on a series of related questions we asked Network Affiliated Attorneys about their state’s standard or pattern jury instructions. As the questions are quite specific, several attorneys responded by simply answered “yes,” and “no,” and for ease of associating their responses with the questions, we present those first. Other attorneys offered greater detail, and their responses complete this column.

The questions we asked our Affiliated Attorneys are–
1. Does your state have a “standard” jury instruction for the use of defensive deadly force?
2. Is it considered state-friendly or defendant-friendly?
3. Can a defendant in your state get a jury instruction regarding self defense in lieu of or in addition to the standard instruction?

Osvaldo Sandoval
Bufete Prieto y Asociados
Celis Aguilera #6, Ste. 201A, Fajardo, PR 00738
787-860-0875
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1. No


2. State

3. Yes

John R. Monroe
Attorney at Law
9640 Coleman Rd., Roswell, GA 30075
678-362-7650
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1. Yes, in Georgia.

2. I don’t consider jury instructions to be friendly toward either party. They should (and do) accurately reflect the law. The law in my state (Georgia) generally is as friendly toward defendants when it comes to self defense as most if not all states.

3. Qualified yes. If the facts of the case fit the instruction, a defendant is entitled to any instruction he suggests for which there is legal support (such as an appellate court opinion).

Mark Alexander
5080 Spectrum, Suite 850E, Addison, TX 75001
972-364-9700
www.commerciallitigationtexas.com
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The answers to your questions in Texas are as follows:

1. Yes;

2. I’d say more “defendant-friendly” than other states; and

3. Yes.

C. Markley Arrington
Jensen, Adair, Arrington and Bornemeier, LLP
1010 N. 500 E., Ste. 100, N. Salt Lake, UT 84054
801-292-6400
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1. Utah does not necessarily have a “standard” jury instruction for self defense.

2. Utah is defendant friendly when the issue of self defense/deadly force arises.

3. Supplement jury instructions are a usual matter in jury trials. There should not be an issue of a defendant submitting supplement jury instructions.

Mark D. Biller
Attorney At Law
P.O. Box 159, Balsam Lake, Wi 54810
715-405-1001
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Wisconsin has a jury instruction specific to the use of force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm (WJI805). This instruction charges the jury that adequate self defense lies when the defender believed there was an actual or imminent unlawful interference with his person (or others), the defender believed the applied force was necessary—the subjective element, and that, in the eyes of the jury, that belief was reasonable—the objective element.

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