DEFENSE OF SELF-DEFENSE - BATTERED WOMEN CASES
A person is justified in using deadly force in self-defense if that person believed that use of deadly force was necessary to protect herself from imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. Self-defense is a defense although the danger to life or personal security may not have been real, if a person, in the circumstances and from the viewpoint of the defendant, would reasonably have believed that she was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.
Notes on Use
This instruction was adopted by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in Bechtel v. State, 840 P.2d 1, 11 (Okl. Cr. 1992), for use in all Battered Women Syndrome cases. OUJI-CR 8-45 and 8-49 should also be given in such cases, but OUJI-CR 8-50 should not be given unless there is evidence that the defendant was the aggressor, provoked the altercation, or voluntarily entered into mutual combat. Id. at 12-14. This defense might also be applicable to a battered man, or in appropriate circumstances, to a battered child, but this has not yet been decided by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Compare Commonwealth v. Kacsmar, 617 A.2d 725, 731-32 (Pa. Super. 1992) (expert testimony on battered person syndrome should have been allowed in trial for voluntary manslaughter of defendant's brother), overruled on other grounds, Commonwealth v. Miller, 634 A.2d 614, 622 (Pa. Super. 1992), and State v. Janes, 850 P.2d 495, 503 (Wash. 1995) (evidence of battered child syndrome was admissible to prove self-defense), with Jahnke v. State, 682 P.2d 991, 99 (Wyo. 1984) (rejecting battered child defense). Cf. Bechtel v. State, 840 P.2d 1, 16 (Okl. Cr. 1992) (Lumpkin, J., dissenting). If so, this instruction would have to be modified appropriately.
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