Mantei tried to pull a fast one. Remember when West said he didn't want the self-defense instruction to specify aggravated battery was the forcible felony Martin committed against him even though the judge read it to the jury during voir dire that way? And West said something about withdrawing the instruction because it was a trick? I wrote a long post on this here
I couldn't figure it out before and now I have. (If someone else has already discussed this, sorry, I haven't seen it.) I wrote:
As far as I can tell, instead of having two ways for the shooting to be a justifiable use of deadly force with no duty to retreat under stand your ground, the defense is now down to one. And it prefers the single option to whatever "trick" the state had up its sleeve.
I'm not sure what the trick was. West only said the state wanted the jury to hear the elements of aggravated battery and it was trying to trick the defense into asking for the specific forcible felony justification because then the jury would learn the elements of aggravated battery. I don't understand how the state benefits from the jury being instructed it could find Trayvon Martin committed an aggravated battery against Zimmerman, but obviously, there's more to this story than meets the eye.
Here's the trick the state tried to pull: There is no definition of great bodily harm in the self- defense instructions. The pattern instructions contain a definition but it's for aggravated battery, not self defense. Mantei wanted aggravated battery in there as part of GZ's self defense instruction so he could get the agg battery version of great bodily harm in. West knew it was a trap and gave up this part of his self defense argument. The agg battery version says bruises are not great bodily harm
The judge refused to give it.
The instruction that you're seeking to have entered is -- says that "great bodily harm is distinguished from slight, trivial, minor or moderate harm, and as such, does not include mere bruises as are likely to be inflicted in a simple assault and battery." The testimony before the court, whether the jury chooses to believe it or not -- that's their purview -- is that you don't have to have any injury to be in fear to the extent of the justifiable use of deadly force.
The version of self defense read to the jury in voir dire included this:
Deadly force" means force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent (1) imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or (2) the imminent commission of aggravated battery against himself or another.
Aggravated battery is intentionally touching or striking another against his or her will, and in committing the battery, intentionally or knowingly causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to the other person.
The final instruction read:
“Deadly force” means force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.
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