Ted Wafer Trial – August 5, 2014
I suspect that closing arguments will be made late today or Wednesday in the Ted Wafer murder trial. The judge will then read the jury instructions and send them off to decide the verdict.
As we learned in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, there are some courts that allow the attorneys to amend jury instructions, even omitting sections. Thus, the Supreme Court Committee in those states waste their time writing model or pattern jury instructions that judges toss aside for those written by defense lawyers.
Personally, I think that is a miscarriage of justice, especially in criminal cases. Model or Pattern Jury Instructions are written because of criminal statute and prosecutors should not be placed in a position where the statutes are rendered moot by jury instructions that do not fit the law.
For all intents and purposes, Ted Wafer is claiming that he shot and killed Renisha McBride in self-defense.
The below are Michigan’s actual jury instructions for use of deadly force in self-defense.
If videos of the trial should become available, I’ll update here.
From this morning’s cross-examination
Michigan Criminal Jury Instructions
7.15 Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense
(1) The defendant claims that [he / she] acted in lawful self -defense.
A person has the right to use force or even take a life to defend [himself / herself] under certain circumstances. If a person acts in lawful self-defense, that person’s actions are justified and [he / she] is not guilty of [state crime].
(2) You should consider all the evidence and use the following rules to decide whether the defendant acted in lawful self – defense. Remember to judge the defendant’s conduct according to how the circumstances appeared to [him / her] at the time [he / she] acted.
(3) First, at the time [he / she] acted, the defendant must have honestly and reasonably believed that [he / she] was in danger of being [killed / seriously injured / sexually assaulted]. If the defendant’s belief was honest and reasonable, [he / she] could act immediately to defend [himself / herself] even if it turned out later that [he / she] was wrong about how much danger [he / she] was in. In deciding if the defendant’s belief was honest and reasonable, you should consider all the circumstances as they appeared to the defendant at the time.
(4) Second, a person may not kill or seriously injure another person just to protect [himself / herself] against what seems like a threat of only minor injury. The defendant must have been afraid of [death / serious physical injury / sexual assault]. When you decide if the defendant was afraid of one or more of these, you should consider all the circumstances: [the condition of the people involved, including their relative strength / whether the other person was armed with a dangerous weapon or had some other means of injuring the defendant / the nature of the other person’s attack or threat / whether the defendant knew about any previous violent acts or threats made by the other person].
(5) Third, at the time [he / she] acted, the defendant must have honestly and reasonably believed that what [he / she] did was immediately necessary. Under the law, a person may only use as much force as [he / she] thinks is necessary at the time to protect [himself / herself]. When you decide whether the amount of force used seemed to be necessary, you may consider whether the defendant knew about any other ways of protecting [himself / herself], but you may also consider how the excitement of the moment affected the choice the defendant made.