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State v. Oguta

New Jersey Appellate Division

June 17, 2021

The New Jersey Appellate Division confronted the intersection of a justification defense and N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d), which prohibits possession of a weapon “under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have.” The trial court refused to instruct the jury on self-defense regarding that charge. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court noted that self-defense generally is not an available defense to the charge, but an exception to the general rule occurs in limited circumstances “in which a person makes spontaneous use of a weapon to repel immediate danger.” Instantly, that is precisely what occurred.

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