George Zimmerman Trial Coverage > Jury Instructions

Self-Defense Instructions

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TalkLeft:
Here is a thread to discuss self-defense instructions. They are contained in Instruction 3.6 of the Florida Jury Instructions.

jjr495:
Now that we know from juror B37 that three jurors wanted to initially convict GZ and that B37 also thought GZ went too far, it seems that the outcome may have pivoted on not including the initial aggressor part of the self defense jury instructions. The following is from pages 64 and 65 of the Florida Supreme Court jury instructions.

--- Quote ---Aggressor. 776.041, Fla. Stat.
However, the use of deadly force is not justifiable if you find:
Give only if the defendant is charged with an independent forcible felony. See Giles v. State, 831 So. 2d 1263 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002).
1. (Defendant) was attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of (applicable forcible felony); or
Define applicable forcible felony. Define after paragraph 2 if both paragraphs 1 and 2 are given. Forcible felonies are listed in 776.08, Fla. Stat.
2. (Defendant) initially provoked the use of force against [himself] [herself], unless:
a. The force asserted toward the defendant was so great that [he] [she] reasonably believed that [he] [she] was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and had exhausted every reasonable means to escape the danger, other than using deadly force on (assailant).
b. In good faith, the defendant withdrew from physical contact with (assailant) and clearly indicated to (assailant) that [he] [she] wanted to withdraw and stop the use of deadly force, but (assailant) continued or resumed the use of force.

--- End quote ---
Both sides agreed that paragraph 1 above did not apply, but if 2 had been included I think GZ may have been convicted or the jury would have hung.
The video of these arguments are here, here, and here. West was at his best and Mantei probably put too much effort into the child abuse issue. Nelson never explained her reasoning. She was in a hurry to get the instructions written before the scheduled opening arguments.

MJW:

--- Quote from: jjr495 on July 16, 2013, 11:38:45 AM ---Now that we know from juror B37 that three jurors wanted to initially convict GZ and that B37 also thought GZ went too far, it seems that the outcome may have pivoted on not including the initial aggressor part of the self defense jury instructions. The following is from pages 64 and 65 of the Florida Supreme Court jury instructions.Both sides agreed that paragraph 1 above did not apply, but if 2 had been included I think GZ may have been convicted or the jury would have hung.

--- End quote ---

If that paragraph had been included, the defense would have insisted that "provoke" be defined in the instruction as "force or the threat of force" in accordance with Gibbs.

jjr495:

--- Quote from: MJW on July 16, 2013, 12:11:02 PM ---If that paragraph had been included, the defense would have insisted that "provoke" be defined in the instruction as "force or the threat of force" in accordance with Gibbs.

--- End quote ---
Mantei argued that "force or threat of force" be included with the 776.041 aggressor instruction. West argued that there was no evidence of force or threat of force, and therefore 776.041 should not be given at all. West's long argument about the facts in evidence regarding the force issue won the argument and may have helped un-hang the jury.

nomatter_nevermind:

--- Quote from: MJW on July 16, 2013, 12:11:02 PM ---the defense would have insisted
--- End quote ---

I thought the judge had the final say on everything. What would give the defense the power to insist on something?

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