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Criminal Practice – Jury Instructions – Assault – Aggressor – Self-Defense

State v. Holloman (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-167-16, 15 pp.) (Lucy Inman, J.) Appealed from Wake County Superior Court (Donald Stephens, J.) N.C. App.

Holding: Although deviation from the pattern jury instructions is not per se error, in this case, the trial court’s deviations from the pattern self-defense instruction, taken as a whole, misstated the law by suggesting that an aggressor cannot under any circumstances regain justification for using defensive force.

There is a reasonable possibility that, had the jury been properly instructed on self-defense, jurors would not have convicted defendant of assault; accordingly, defendant is entitled to a new trial.


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