State v. MercerAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the trial court committed prejudicial error when it failed to instruct the jury on justification as a defense for the charge of possession of a firearm by a felon, holding that the failure to give such an instruction was prejudicial, and Defendant was entitled to a new trial.
The court of appeals vacated Defendant's conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon, concluding that the trial court erred by denying Defendant's requested jury instruction on justification as a defense to possession of a firearm by a felon. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court of appeals did not err by recognizing the availability of a common law justification defense for a possession of a firearm by a felon charge and by prescribing the factors set forth in United States v. Deleveaux, 205 F.3d 1292 (11th Cir. 2000), as the framework within which to determine whether the trial court erred by failing to present the defense to the jury; and (2) there was sufficient evidence of each Deleveaux factor to require a justification instruction be given to the jury, and the failure to give that instruction was prejudicial.