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EDDIE BEBLEY, JR. v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

SEPTEMBER 12, 1984

EDDIE BEBLEY, JR.
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



EN BANC

WALKER, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Eddie Bebley, Jr. was indicted and tried for murder in the Circuit Court of Lauderdale County. The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter, and Bebley was sentenced to serve a term of ten years in the custody of the Department of Corrections with six years of the term suspended and appellant placed on probation. Bebley appeals this conviction.

The defendant assigned as error that Instruction S-2 was vague, confusing, misleading and obliterated the defense of self-defense. Also, it was further argued that the instruction put the burden of proof on the defendant to prove self-defense.

 This instruction has been examined by the Court on numerous occasions.

 In Robinson v. State, 434 So.2d 206 (Miss. 1983), although this Court did not condemn a similar instruction and reverse the case we said:

 Although a majority of the Court is of the opinion that the instruction does correctly state the law, several other

 Judges are of the opinion that it is too long, redundant and confusing.

 In the future, it might be wise for district attorneys to substitute the following instruction for the one quoted above:

 The court instructs the jury that to make a killing justifiable on the grounds of self-defense, the danger to the defendant must be either actual, present and urgent, or the defendant must have reasonable grounds to apprehend a design on the part of the victim to kill him or to do him some great bodily harm, and in addition to this he must have reasonable grounds to apprehend that there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished. It is for the jury to determine the reasonableness of the ground upon which the defendant acts. 434 So.2d at 207.

 Recent opinions of this Court have renewed the criticism. Scott v. State, 446 So.2d 580 (Miss. 1984); and Haynes v. State, 451 So.2d 227 (Miss. 1984). The Court suggested an alternative instruction in Robinson and cautioned against using the old instruction. Robinson was rendered on May 18, 1983. The petition for rehearing was

 denied July 27, 1984. The case sub judice was tried on May 13, 1982 at a time when Robinson had not been published in the Southern Reporter which explains the continued use of the instruction. Any use of the instruction in cases tried after Robinson was published will be closely scrutinized. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

 The remaining assignments of error are without merit and require no discussion.

 For the above stated reasons, the conviction and ...


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