Florida Statutes 782.02 and 782.03 give those charged with Murder complete defenses to the charge. Florida Statute 782.02, commonly known as the "Castle Doctrine" provides that if the use of deadly force was justified, then the killing was lawful and does not qualify as a homicide. The use of deadly force is justifiable when a person is resisting any attempt to murder such person or to commit any felony upon him or her or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person shall be.
An excusable homicide under Florida Chapter 782.03 is one where the death occurs because of an "accident or misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution, and without any unlawful intent, or by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden combat, without any dangerous weapon being used and not done in a cruel or unusual manner."
The defense of excuse it usually asserted in cases where the defendant claims that the death was an accident. Florida Statute 782.02 gives the jury the standard to determine if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. Upon some showing of evidence by the Defendant that tends to support the theory of Self Defense, Justification, or Excusable Murder, then the Court must give the appropriate instruction to the jury.
However, zealous prosecutors for whatever reason may bring murder charges even if the defendant justifiably used deadly force to protect themselves, their property, or someone else. Because these situations are complex, there are many possible defenses. The real challenge is development of evidence and presentation of that evidence to a jury that would allow the jury to consider the defense. Too often, defense attorneys fail their clients in being able to get their defense to a jury. If you or someone you know needs a murder defense attorney to bring forth a claim of self-defense, justified or excusable murder, contact us at Arnold and New. Our three experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys will work to get your case in front of a jury.
In the News
- A fine line keeps Jacksonville teen jailed despite 'Stand Your Ground' law (Jacksonville.com, March 31, 2012)
 "The use of deadly force is justifiable when a person is resisting any attempt to murder such person or to commit any felony upon him or her or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person shall be."