State v. EwerAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that the justification defense provided in Arizona's self-defense statute, Arizona. Rev. Stat. 13-404(A), does not extend to both the defendant and the victim but only applies to a defendant's conduct.
Section 13-404(A) states that "a person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect [one]self against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful physical force." However, Rev. Ariz. Jury Instr. (Crim.) Justification for Self-Defense 4.04, at 63-65 (4th ed. 2016), states that the justification defense applies not to a "person" but to a "defendant." The court of appeals vacated Defendant's convictions and remanded the case for a new trial, concluding that the justification presumptions were not intended to apply to the victim's conduct. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) the term "person" in section 13-404(A) applies to a defendant in a criminal prosecution; and (2) therefore, the trial court erred when it modified the standard Revised Arizona Jury Instruction to incorporate a victim's use of force.