By: Daily Record Staff//April 22, 2012
By: Daily Record Staff//April 22, 2012//
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Deadly Force — Jury Instructions
Terranova v. State of New York
Judges Winter, Lynch and Carney
Background: The plaintiff-appellant appealed from a jury verdict finding that the defendants did not use unreasonable force in executing a traffic stop. The plaintiff had brought suit as a result of injuries sustained during a traffic stop. The same traffic stop resulted in the death of the plaintiff’s friend. The police had stopped traffic in an effort to apprehend the plaintiff and his friends who were riding motorcycles. The appellants argued that the court erred by not instructing the jury on the use of deadly force in addition to the instruction on excessive force.
Ruling: The Second Circuit affirmed. The Second Circuit held that absent evidence of the use of force highly likely to have deadly effects, a jury instruction regarding justifications of the use of deadly force is inappropriate, and the usual instructions regarding the use of excessive force are adequate.
Michael J. Grace of Grace & Grace for the plaintiffs-appellants; Oren L. Zeve of the New York State Office of the Attorney General for the defendants-appellees