United States v. Peppers

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 10-17-2012
  • Case #: 11-30322
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam: Circuit Judges Black, Graber, and Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

If jury instructions fairly and adequately covers the issues presented, the district court is given substantial latitude in tailoring jury instructions.

Ronald Peppers was convicted for assaulting a federal officer. Around midnight, federal agents entered the trailer of Peppers’ mother, where he was asleep on the couch, to arrest him. Peppers struggled during the arrest and bit Special Agent Kimball’s arm. Peppers claimed self-defense because he believed he was resisting violent attackers. Peppers appealed the conviction on the grounds that the jury instructions failed to adequately instruct the jury that “the government bore the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Peppers did not act in self defense.” The Ninth Circuit notes that if jury instructions “fairly and adequately cover the issues presented, the district court is given substantial latitude in tailoring jury instructions.” The court held that, although the district court did not use the model instructions, the jury instructions in the district court included the correct burden of proof on the entire issue of self-defense. AFFIRMED.

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