Appellate Review of Self-Defense Explained
Statutes provide that “[d]eadly force is only justifiable when the defendant reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself [or herself] from death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony.” When defendant raises self-defense, the State has the burden of proof to negate that defense. Circuit court did not err in excluding defense testimony, about victim’s specific acts of violence, as too remote in time. Even if the circuit court misstated the law on self-defense, the evidence supports the circuit court’s ruling. A criminal judgment is subject to review on the facts most favorable to that judgment so, on a motion to acquit based on self-defense, circuit court’s denial is subject to reversal only on “undisputed and uncontradicted evidence of self-defense.” The evidence showed that the victim was not armed, and not within reach of defendant, when defendant fired five shots at victim, including at least two while victim was down, and at least one in the back. Defendant’s “self-serving explanations … plainly rejected as not credible” do not control.
State of Missouri, Respondent, vs. Anthony Levar Sinks, Appellant.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED109710