State v. Allen, 233 N.C. App. 507 (Apr. 15, 2014)

The trial court did not commit plain error by failing to instruct the jury on self-defense with respect to a charge of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. The trial court instructed the jury regarding self-defense in its instructions for attempted first-degree murder and assault. For the discharging a firearm charge, the trial court did not give the full self-defense instruction, but rather stated that the jury must find whether the defendant committed the offense without justification or excuse. At the jury instruction conference the defendant agreed to this instruction. The court found that the trial court placed the burden of proof on the State to satisfy the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense when he shot at the car. It also noted that the defendant agreed to the proposed instruction and that the jury found the defendant guilty of the other charges even though each included a self-defense instruction.