KY Self Defense Law Confuses Juries in Homicide Cases


Convoluted state law that requires prosecutors to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that homicide suspects did not kill in self defense is allowing some killers in Kentucky to literally get away with murder, The Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The confusion results from changes in the Kentucky penal code that have made state law on self-defense “incomprehensible to even the most educated,” say some of the state’s Supreme Court Justices.

In an unpublished opinion, three of the state’s seven justices called on the state legislature to simplify the self-defense law. “It is simply not working, and our juries are guessing at the proper results, or more often, convicting of a lesser-included offense, sometimes rightly — sometimes wrongfully — simply as a compromise to confusion,” one of the justices wrote.


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