Defense of Another

The following instructions explain the theory of defense of another.

Reporter’s Note: 

The committee notes that “defense of another” provides justification for a homicide only if the necessary relationship exists.  See 13 V.S.A. § 2305(1).

The instruction for self-defense, and defense of another, CR07-121, derives from the trial court’s instructions in State v. Verrinder, 161 Vt. 250 (1993).  However, these instructions have been shortened significantly.  One of the changes is to eliminate an instruction on duty to retreat.  In State v. Hatcher, 167 Vt. 338 (1997), the trial court instructed the jury that if the defendant honestly and reasonably believed “it was immediately necessary to use deadly force to protect himself from an imminent threat of death or bodily injury, the law does not require him to retreat.”  Id. at 348.