Response to demwing (Reply #7)
Sat Jun 29, 2013, 10:11 PM
DirkGently (10,660 posts)
10. I think that's specific to the insanity defense.
The affirmative defense of self-defense in Florida, if the court finds it has been properly made out, must be defeated beyond a reasonable doubt.
In other words, if the defendant makes a case for self-defense, the state must both prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and show beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not justified as self-defense.
Here's a 2012 decision out of the First DCA:
The defendant has the burden of presenting sufficient evidence that he acted in self-defense in order to be entitled to a jury instruction on the issue. But the presentation of such evidence does not change the elements of the offense at issue; rather, it merely requires the state to present evidence that establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
But the jury doesn't necessarily have to hear it that way. Still reasonable doubt, essentially, but this jury instruction was upheld:
An issue in this case is whether the defendant acted in self-defense. It is a defense to the offense with which is charged if the death of resulted from the justifiable use of deadly force. 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, one, imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or, two, the imminent commission of aggravated battery against himself or another.
If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense, you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether the defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find the defendant not guilty. However, if from the evidence you are convinced that the defendant was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find him guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.
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I think that's specific to the insanity defense.
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