WA Legal Roundup - Washington State Supreme Court
In a Mike Tyson-esque moment, Kyllo bit a mans year off during a prison fight. He claimed self-defense:
The jury was instructed that a person is entitled to act in self-defense when he reasonably believes he is about to be injured and when the force used is not more than is necessary.
The jury was also instructed that:
A person is entitled to act on appearances in defending himself, if that person believes in good faith and on reasonable grounds that he is in actual danger of great bodily harm, although it afterwards might develop that the person was mistaken as to the extent of the danger. Actual danger is not necessary for the use of force to be lawful.
Great bodily harm was never defined, during closing everyone seemed to be arguing grievous bodily harm. Unfortunately, the instruction shifts the burden of self-defense. Once the defendant raises it, the State must disprove it. To put forth an instruction that shifts the burden to your own client, well that is ineffective assistance, and of constitutional magnitude (no objection needed).
Kyllo is lucky. This would have been his third strike. Here's to hoping he makes the most of it.