I haven’t blogged about the CSGV for quite some time, mostly because they are irrelevant in the current debate. But their claim on the jury instructions, as you may imagine, fail to give the whole picture. The full jury instructions are posted online. You can find them here and here. There’s a lot more to the jury’s instructions than that. They, of course, fail to mention this would also be part of the instruction:
In deciding whether defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge [him] [her] by the circumstances by which [he] [she] was surrounded at the time the force was used.Â The danger facing the defendant need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force.Â Based upon appearances, the defendant must have actually believed that the danger was real.
You can find exactly how the instructions changed in the Florida Supreme Court case showing here. What is also mentioned is that previously, retreat was only required when one could do so in complete safety. Zimmerman’s claim was that her was pinned to the ground. Either you believe it or you don’t. If you believe it, duty to retreat doesn’t come into play regardless, under current law or the old law.
UPDATE: You can find the exact and lengthy jury instructions here.