Daniel Perry shot and killed Garrett Foster at a protest/riot last year. What is not disputed is that Foster approached the window of Perry's car with a rifle, when Perry shot him. Could Perry's defense point out that other incidents at similar protests ended with the person in the vehicle being dragged from the car and beaten, shot, or killed? These other incidents did not involve Perry or Foster, but both could have heard about them on the news.

How much context are you allowed to give a jury? I know that the standard for self-defense is "Would a reasonable person fear for their life?" but the situations in which a reasonable person would be afraid change with what they know about similar situations.

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    Are you asking if you can provide specific instances of similar violence to a jury? A lawyer would be able to argue that their client had "reasonable fear" for their or their family's life, and can provide as much arguments as that would require, but I'm not sure if providing a specific instance is useful or allowed especially if that situation is still pending in court.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jul 18, 2021 at 13:03
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    @RonBeyer I'm asking if the jury can be made aware of how similar situations have turned very violent and ended poorly for the driver. Like by citing what happened to Reginald Denny, Adam Haner, or the unidentified tanker truck driver in Minneapolis in May 2020. It seems reasonable to me to bring these events up so you can be sure the jury knows that crowds like this don't just want to talk.
    – Ryan_L
    Commented Jul 18, 2021 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Some context is allowed to help the jury determine what is reasonable. The details of what comes in and what does not to provide context is very fact specific. Realistically, the defendant, at a minimum, gets to discuss his own thought process about what he feels made his actions reasonable which can provide some context of other incidents of which he was aware.

The decision is made by the judge in response to objections from opposing counsel. This decision is subject to quite deferential abuse of discretion review on appeal, so it is hard to draw hard and fast conclusions about what will come in. The appellate law establishes the out boundaries of what will always come in and what will never come in, but there is plenty of gray area in which the judge makes a decision that is not reversible error no matter what that decision would be.

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