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TAVIAN RUFFIN v. STATE OF MARYLAND

Criminal procedure — Jury instruction — Self-defense

Appellant, Tavian Ruffin, was indicted in the Circuit Court for Howard County, Maryland, and charged with second degree assault of Brandi Carney, violation of a protective order, resisting arrest, making a false statement to a police officer, second degree assault of a law enforcement officer (Officer Andrew Saffran), two additional counts of second degree assault of Officer Saffran, and one count of second degree assault of Officer James Tippett. Appellant was tried by a jury, and the court granted a motion for judgment of acquittal on the count charging second degree assault of Officer Tippett at the end of the State’s case-in-chief. At the end of all the evidence, the State entered a nol pros as to second degree assault of a law enforcement officer. The jury acquitted appellant of second degree assault of Brandi Carney, but convicted him of violating a protective order and resisting arrest. When the jury was unable to reach a verdict on two counts charging second degree assault of Officer Saffran and the one count of making a false statement to a police officer, the court declared a mistrial as to those three counts. Appellant was sentenced to ninety days for violating a protective order and three years for resisting arrest, all of which was suspended, to be followed by three years supervised probation.

Appellant timely appealed and presents the following questions for our review:

1. Did the trial court err when it refused to instruct the jury on self-defense?

2. Did the trial court abuse its discretion when it permitted Officer Saffran to testify after he violated the court’s sequestration order?

Read the opinion here: