Self-Defense

Stand Your Ground on Track to Adoption in North Dakota

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The N.D. House passed it 77-16, and today the Senate passed it 35-10, though with some changes that the House will have to consider. [UPDATE, 4/10/21: Yesterday, the House concurred in the changes by a 78-10 vote.] If it passes, this will leave only 12 states as duty-to-retreat states:

  • Eastern Seaboard: MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, ME.
  • Midwest: WI, MN, NE.
  • West: HI.

Pennsylvania does impose a duty to retreat when you're faced with an attacker who is not displaying or using a weapon "readily or apparently capable of lethal use"; but since most threats of death or serious bodily injury tend to come from people who have such weapons, or are physically restraining you in a way that prevents a safe retreat, I view the Pennsylvania rule as being more on the stand-your-ground side.

For more on what all this means, see this post.

NEXT: The Shooting Cycle Continues in 2021

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  1. Al Swearengen’s state is just getting around to this? There is no God (or Devil?).

    1. It took you a lot of mental gymnastics and contortions to come up with that tortured analogy.

    2. Retreat is to protect the lawyer client. The lawyer gets fees from the criminal. It gets nothing from the crime victim, who is not being protected by the lawyer profession. It is 10 times more toxic than organized crime.

  2. We are sick of you pro-criminal lawyers. Criminals are clients. Victims are not, and may rot, you skunks.

    All law abiding citizens should conceal carry. If they fail to fire on the violent criminal, they should be fined $100.

  3. If Wisconsin has SYG how can the prosecutor bring murder charges against Rittenhouse???

    1. According to the criminal complaint, he shot one unarmed man, another man who was armed with a skateboard and may have been trying to take his gun, and a third man who was armed with a gun but not aiming it. Whether any of these were legitimate self-defense is a question for the jury.

      I have not followed the case closely and the facts at trial may not match the facts alleged by the prosecutor.

      1. There is video and the Washington Post had an exhaustive account of what transpired—the first guy was suicidal and it seems pretty obvious it was a “suicide by cop” incident—so he saw a guy with a gun and attacked the guy wanting Rittenhouse to kill him…but Rittenhouse retreated before killing him so at some point SYG or self defense would kick in. The second guy was an imbecile that was Darwinned out of existence and that would qualify as SYG or self defense because once again he attacked a guy with a gun. The shooting of the third guy is the only potential crime and that guy isn’t dead and so obviously that can’t be a “murder” charge. The prosecutor should be disbarred for unethical conduct if you ask me because no reasonable prosecutor could believe a “murder” took place.

        1. What does any of that have to do with stand your ground vs. a duty to retreat?

          1. Rittenhouse did retreat but at some point SYG or self defense kicks in. Once the WaPo report came out that the initial nut was suicidal the murder charges should have been dropped.

            1. Very much so. His second shooting was legally justified as self defense, because the skate boarder followed him and assaulted him with his skateboard. That attack was not legally justified because of his following Rittenhouse, which made him the aggressor, and thus legally ineligible to claim self defense as the justification for attempting (or appearing to attempt) to cause death or great bodily injury (which typically includes the breaking of bones) to Rittenhouse.

              It wouldn’t have mattered if Rittenhouse hadn’t been legally justified in utilizing deadly force against his first assailant, since by trying to escape, he had terminated the first confrontation. If the skateboarder had claimed that he was just trying to keep Rittenhouse from escaping, the result wouldn’t have been any different – he wasn’t legally entitled to utilize deadly force to effect the capture or prevent the escape of Rittenhouse. Cops in many cases can utilize deadly force in such situations (the Supreme Court has imposed significant limitations on this- the LEO has to essentially show a danger to the community if the fugitive isn’t prevented from escaping). (Since Mike Brown had tried to take Officer Owen Wilson’s gun away from him, Wilson probably could legally have shot him to prevent his escape – but self defense sufficed, since Brown was the aggressor).

              1. How can people stand by while this prosecutor clearly behaves outside the boundaries of professional conduct laid out by the ABA?? Do state bars only care about misappropriation of funds or do they actually enforce professional standards??

              2. I admit that I haven’t followed the case closely, but wasn’t there talk about him not being legally armed in that state? If so, could that possibly fall under the heading of killing while in commission of a crime, which takes away the right to self defense?

                Since this hasn’t been brought up here I assume this isn’t the case. I’m just wondering if anyone knows for sure.

                1. A 17 year old possessing a rifle is a non-violent misdemeanor, so it doesn’t void his right to self defense or make him liable for felony murder.

            2. I’m still not following. What is the point where you feel Rittenhouse was otherwise justified in using deadly force but also could have retreated in complete safety, such that the stand your ground law would have made a difference?

    2. The prosecutor’s theory is that Rittenhouse did not face an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury, so the self-defense statute didn’t trigger.

      I have no idea how s/he expects to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, particularly in the cases where he was being beaten about the head with a skateboard and towered over by someone with a handgun, or even the first shooting, where — according to a witness quoted in the charging documents — the decedent (a felon who spent more than half his life in prison for raping a little kid, and earlier that night tried to pick a fight with an armed adult) tried to grab Rittenhouse’s gun away from him after chasing him down and throwing something at him.

      1. If you try to take a gun away from someone, and esp someone who hasn’t threatened to shoot you or someone else, you have very likely placed them in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury, legally allowing them to utilize deadly force in their defense – after all, what were they going to do with the gun? Indeed, people who try to take cops’ guns away from them are somewhat frequently prosecuted for attempted murder.

    3. Wisconsin does not have SYG. The article identifies us as having Duty to Retreat, which isn’t exactly correct, but will do as an approximation.

      1. I misread that. So Rittenhouse did retreat and at some point self defense kicks in. So SYG wouldn’t apply because Rittenhouse did retreat which makes the prosecutor’s charges even more troubling. From the ABA:

        A prosecutor should seek or file criminal charges only if the prosecutor reasonably believes that the charges are supported by probable cause,

        1. I don’t think you understand what stand your ground is (not talking about the case specifically just the way you are talking about it.

          EVERY state has a self defense law which allows the use of deadly force when in reasonable fear of you life or serious bodily injury (specific wording may vary).

          Stand your ground stands in opposition to duty to retreat. The duty to retreat only says that if you can safely retreat then you aren’t eligible to claim self defense. IF you can retreat then you must. If you can’t retreat then neither the duty to retreat OR SYH are relevant. That is pure self defense. SYG only applies in situations where retreat was possible (the level of assurance of safety may vary state to state).

          Not every state has SYG (except in the home – called the “castle doctrine” – which I believe every state recognizes). And SYG is only relevant at the time you used deadly force. Retreating and then stopping and using deadly force would be analyzed at the time force was used and whether safe retreat was still possible.

          Even in STG ground states that is only talking about not needing to retreat. The other requirements for the use of deadly force are still law. In a SYG state the only question is whether you were in a reasonable fear of your life or serious bodily injury. In a non-SYG state the only additional question is whether at the time you used the force you could retreat to safety.

          1. SYG is widely misunderstood. A lot of people thought it applied in the case of the Martin/Zimmerman shooting, too, when it clearly didn’t.

  4. “Stand your ground” forces everyone to buy a gun. Again — once again — your position dovetails nicely with the gun manufacturers’.

    1. forces

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    2. Anyway I parse your claim, it is nonsensical.

      And states with duty to retreat have both home invasions, and murders…

    3. I’m not a lawyer but I’m pretty sure “stand your ground” is not a legal mandate. You can still run away if you want.

    4. What do you think “stand your ground” means, exactly?

      1. SYD is the statutory abrogation of the common law Retreat Doctrine.

        BTW – much of the press in the George Zimmerman case misstated the aspect of the FL SYD statute involved. What they were mostly complains about was the immunization provisions for those wrongfully tried for legitimate use of deadly force in self defense situations. The two very different provisions were enacted at the same time by the FL legislature, and lumped together for convenience. The immunization provision allows defendants to demand a self defense hearing, where if they can prove self defense by a preponderance, the state is liable for their legal fees if it continues to prosecute, and, moreover, civil litigants against them are similarly liable. Keep in mind that in most states (all except maybe OH) the burden is on the prosecution to disprove self defense beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much stiffer standard. If the state can’t disprove self defense in the hearing by a preponderance of the evidence, they surely won’t be able to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

        The obvious purpose of the immunization hearing provision is to prevent, or at least minimize, the damage that prosecutors can inflict through the process of a prosecution, despite no real case to prosecute. We are seeing that now, with prosecution of Rittenhouse, as well as the couple in New Orleans.

        1. SYD is the statutory abrogation of the common law Retreat Doctrine.

          That’s certainly what I’ve always understood it to mean. But since there’s no conceivable way that such an abrogation could “force[] everyone to buy a gun”, I was curious whether captcrisis thought it meant something else.

        2. The big difference between the Rittenhouse case and Zimmerman case is that Zimmerman created the tense situation AND Zimmerman was concealed carrying AND Zimmerman never attempted to lower the tension by identifying himself as neighborhood watch and saying the police were on their way. So Zimmerman and Martin got into a scuffle while Martin didn’t know Zimmerman was armed.

          1. These are all assertions which seem to rely on an account of the events of that night that was rejected during the trial.

            The news accounts got so much more coverage than the actual trial testimony, that I suppose it isn’t surprising that a lot of people don’t realize that Martin returned to attack Zimmerman after Zimmerman had given up on following Martin.

            “Got into a scuffle” is such an anodyne way of describing Martin assaulting Zimmerman.

            1. We don’t which party threw the first blow…but we do know that both parties were interested in MMA and according to Zimmerman they exchanged words before the scuffle. Furthermore, Zimmerman lied on national television and thus he is not credible.

              1. The only liar was the fat prosecutor, who perjured herself in the probable cause affidavit.

                1. I agree 100%…but her overcharging is why Zimmerman was found “not guilty” because how can you murder a person while he is on top of you and hitting you?? The Sanford Pd recommended manslaughter charges which was a very solid case in light of Zimmerman’s bizarre behavior that evening. But the prosecutors were so incompetent they failed to even realize Zimmerman lied in his interview on Hannity and his lie made obvious his motive—he wanted to be a hero in order to win back his wife who left him the night before the tragedy. So the lead detective figured out he wanted to be a hero but he didn’t know Zimmerman’s wife had left him and his wife is also a convicted liar.

                  1. No – Zimmerman was found not guilty because the prosecution was unable to disprove his claim that Martin had bashed his head into the concrete walk and then tried to strangle him, beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, Zimmerman probably proved his case beyond that standard, when the burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is always on the prosecution. Lower level charges wouldn’t have helped the prosecution, since FL self defense laws privileged Zimmerman’s actions, regardless. They could have charged him with manslaughter, Aggravated Assault, or even simple assault, and it wouldn’t have mattered.

                    1. Nope, the prosecution presented a murder case and confused the jury. Quite frankly the defense won at voir dire by getting a high paid jury consultant that got 6 women on the jury with one of the women most likely having her mind made up before ever getting on the jury. So 6 women believed the force was reasonable, but because I am not a pussy I didn’t find the force reasonable because Zimmerman used his dominant hand to go straight for his gun once he started losing the fight that his behavior instigated. Anyway, you are a pussy like your “hero” Zimmerman.

                    2. Pretty weak Murder case. And you are fooling yourself if you think that the case was lost at voir dire. All it really took was Zimmerman’s videotaped walk through* the next day with the police, and the forensic evidence for the injuries to the back of his head and throat. All that it took was a single juror to believe that Martin had tried to seriously injure, if not kill, Zimmerman. Or, not even that – one witness had to not believe that the prosecution had disproved that beyond a reasonable doubt. One juror to believe that maybe, just maybe, Martin had done those things, had performed the actions that Zimmerman (and the juror) could reasonably have believed put his life in danger.

                      Sure, Zimmerman may have been a pussy there, but being a pussy isn’t illegal.

                      * The importance of the video walkthrough was that with it, there was no need for Zimmerman to have to testify on the stand, in order to impose his self defense claim. Typically, there has to be some evidence supporting self defense to get a self defense jury instruction. Here it was showing the videotaped walkthrough to the jury. But absent that, defendants sometimes are forced to take the stand to testify as to their reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury, and this opens them to cross examination by the prosecution, something that defense attorneys typically try to avoid.

                      And, yes, you try with me, what Martin did to Zimmerman, and you shouldn’t be surprised if I shot you, just as Zimmerman did Martin. You may continue to think that both Zimmerman and I are pussys, but we would continue to be alive, when Martin is not.

                    3. “Weak murder case”?!? There was NO murder case!! That’s why the jurors got so easily confused during deliberations and why the plant so easily manipulated the other 5. The prosecutor should be disbarred because overcharging is unethical.

          2. Don’t you pieces of shit ever get tired of lying?

          3. You forgot that Martin snuck up on Zimmerman from behind, slugged him, knocked him to the ground, climbed on top of him, bashed his head into the concrete walk, then tried to strangle him. It was the latter two actions that privileged Zimmerman to utilize deadly force in self defense. That is the way it usually works, the first person utilizing, or reasonably threatening to utilize, deadly force is typically unprivileged to use deadly force, and his target or victim is privileged to utilize deadly force in self defense. Your nonsense about Zimmerman causing anxiety or whatever in Martin is completely irrelevant. Zimmerman could have been six inches away from Martin, yelling racial epithets at him, and Zimmerman would have been legally justified in using deadly force in self defense, after Martin tried to kill him.

            1. You don’t know the facts—Zimmerman said they exchanged words before the scuffle started. And once again—if you believe Zimmerman’s force was “reasonable” then that makes you a PUSSY like Zimmerman. And you also sound like a BLM protester not respecting the opinion of the lead investigator that recommended manslaughter charges.

  5. Personally, if I were faced with a threat and was certain that I could retreat in complete safety (along with any other innocent persons involved), that’s what I would prefer to do, rather than take a human life. The problem is, you just don’t know for sure, in that instant when you have to decide, whether you and others can safely retreat or not. If you try to retreat, and it turns out you can’t do so safely, you and those you are responsible for will die. The “duty to retreat” states empower prosecutors and juries who weren’t there to second guess the decision you had to make under severe stress. Although “stand your ground” sounds macho (which is why leftists don’t like it) it’s actually the rule that best recognizes the uncertainty of decision-making in stressful circumstances.

    1. Well said. My problem with duty to retreat is that it takes the onus onto the law abiding from the law breaker. No one should relish killing another (I’ve little doubt many here would be of a different mind), but this is an unfair shift.

    2. Even in a stand your ground state, shooting someone will become a 9 month proctology exam. You will be questioned by the police for hours, likely spend some nights in jail, then you will have a lot of legal bills – regardless of whether you ever even get to trial.

      Even if someone busts into my home, I am not going to shoot them unless I damn well have to. I met a lot of people with guns, on the gun range, at stores, at classes. Never met anyone who feels differently.

      1. Agreed.

        Not to mention that *you* (or a really close friend who does it for you) has to clean up the blood and gore.

        That is not something that is psychologically healthy…

        1. I remember a story about somebody who got shot and bled on the sidewalk and the city sent his family a large cleaning bill.

          1. Why would the city clean up the mess on *your* property?

            1. Why do you assume the sidewalk in question was the family’s property?

      2. Which is absurd. It’s ridiculous that when a law abiding white shoots a criminal black, the white doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.

  6. 12 states to stay the hell out of.

  7. Gun advocates may come to regret shoot-’em-up laws, which seem likely to intensify the mainstream backlash against gun nuttery.

      1. You see the clingers turning the tide of the culture war? Has it occurred already, in your judgment? Is it imminent? What is the persuasive argument that overcomes the evidence indicating that the culture war will continue along its traditional trajectory — or perhaps intensify, as the backwaters continue to empty and our society continues to become less religious, less White, less rural, less intolerant, and less backward?

        1. Ah, do you realize that you’re writing this in the context of the one culture war front the right seems to actually be winning, in a comment thread connected to an account of one impending victory, right?

          1. Most Americans — especially those in educated, successful, modern communities — oppose gun nuttery. How long do you believe conservatives will be able to hold that wall as America continues to progress?

            1. America is progressing nicely towards universal stand-your-ground laws. We just need to bring other parts of society forward like that.

            2. OK, so you’re in denial about that.

            3. I find that an interesting theory, as another state joined the ranks of Constitutional Carry (no permit required for concealed carry) just last week.

        2. I really don’t understand why the intelligent and thoughtful commenters on this site engage with the “Rev.”, who to the best of my knowledge has never posted anything intelligent or even interesting. If you ignore him, he’ll probably go away.

          1. You forgot the drive-by swipe at the educated Jill Biden, clinger . . .

          2. You really wrong him. He actually says things that are sensible, perhaps 1% of the time.

            1. He’s a bot, must be a glitch in the algorithm if something came out sensibly.

    1. AK, my question to you pertains to this and to a comment you made on another gun control thread. You imply that failure to give in on what the gun controllers call “reasonable restrictions” will increase the chances of losing all “reasonable” gun rights?

      I’m I understanding your position accurately?

      If so let’s walk through this on an issue that we probably agree on. I’m as pro choice as you can get. So in order to get the anti-abortionists to abandon their position that “all abortion is murder,” is my best strategy to give on the areas that they tell me are “reasonable” abortion restrictions? Like a cooling off period from when someone wants an abortion to when they get one, or making sure the doctor has hospital privileges, or letting the abortion-prohibitionists decide what a reasonable point in the pregnancy is to obtain an abortion?

      I don’t see how this is the best strategy to stave off abortion prohibition or achieve what I believe is the greatest net good. If anything, the more you give in to prohibitionists the more you slide the “reasonable” scale to prohibition.

      1. Mr. Moroni, you fargin sneaky bastage, you . . . it is a true honor to converse with a common patriotic citizen, such as yourself.

        I believe that in the context of guns the weight of public opinion will overrun the gun absolutists, and that when that wall breaks the result may be not careful calibration but rather a swinging somanumbatching axe. I would prefer a careful balance preserving reasonable self-defense rights and the liberties of common patriotic citizens — a right to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home, without shoot-’em-up laws, especially outside a home — rather than (1) the constitutional gymnastics needed to stretch the Second Amendment into a grotesque funhouse for gun nuts or (2) a broad prohibition of firearms.

        In the context of abortion, I believe reasonable restrictions would be natural and are nearly unavoidable. A deadline might be feasible, for example. Legitimate medical requirements would be reasonable. Pretextual obstacles, however, are unlikely to part of any good, durable system.

        You can’t let the bullshteiners crush a citizen’s boil in a meat-grinder, one might say, or you will violated their fargin rights.

        Does that answer your fargin trick question, you lousy cork-soaker, or do you still have your bells in a sling?

        I hope your club survived the pandemic, Mr. Moroni. I think I might have delivered newspapers there, back in the day.

        See you in Sweden. Or Norway.

        1. Real Americans have yet to reply to you cultural Commie Democrats. Trump was weak. He should have fired the traitors in all agencies. He should have arrested Pelosi and Mueller. He was surrounded by traitor lawyers with traitor advice. The purges are coming for this vile occupation.

        2. I think what you’re saying is, something like when a parent offers a child one cookie after dinner, but the kid demands 30, and the parent gets frustrated and says, “none then!”

          But I don’t think it tends to work like that in the gun debate, or most legal debates. First of all, there would be huge practical hurdles to take away ALL gun rights, even if there was a significant public appetite to do so, which there isn’t.

          I’m sure there are game theory experts who have determined the best strategy for this type of thing, but it seems to me that by keeping the public debate as far away from what your opponents claim to be the “reasonable zone,”you make taking away “reasonable gun rights” seem like taking away breathing.

          It’s usually a mistake to let those who would take away all your rights set the public terms for what is reasonable. Segregation and red lining is “reasonable” compared to chattel slavery, so perhaps it’s best to settle for that, lest the bigots get annoyed with your attitude and put you in chains.

          Or is it better to keep the conversation in the area of reparations, anti-racism, and affirmative action so that the worst case “reasonable” scenario the opposition will ever even think about bringing up is total legal equality?

  8. I think its a little more nuanced than simply “duty to retreat” states. For example, in MD, I don’t have to retreat if I am being robbed. And if I am threatened with a gun, any avenue of retreat is impossible anyway since I cannot run at 900 feet per second. In my mind being robbed and being threatened with a gun cover 95% of the (bad) situations I expect to find myself in outside my house in any case. So, Maryland is, for my purposes, a de facto stand your ground state.

    Also, Maryland is a common law state and self defense has never been codified in statute as it has elsewhere. All that means is that legal bills are higher. But Maryland is, in fact, a “castle doctrine state.”

    I find the debate over “stand your ground” to be more heat than light. If Maryland today codified “stand your ground” I would not really perceive much change.

    1. I find the debate over “stand your ground” to be more heat than light. If Maryland today codified “stand your ground” I would not really perceive much change.

      Having practiced as my state repealed its duty to retreat (in most circumstances), that’s definitely my take. I can’t say there were literally no cases where the prosecutors relied on the duty to retreat to disprove self-defense, or that there were none where charges were declined because of its absence, but I certainly never saw or heard of any.

    2. Eugene does a good job of covering all this in the post that he links to.

      He also gives the example that even in states with no “stand your ground” law you have no duty to retreat when faced with a gun for the exact reasons you specify.

      I think the core of stand your ground is to give more specific legal cover in situations where a court might be able to later conclude that you could have possibly escaped if you really tried. Better to just avoid that courtroom altogether. Although even with stand your ground, a prosecutor could try to get a court to decide that you didn’t reasonably fear for your life, so deadly force wasn’t justified.

      I’m not sure how often the “stand your ground” law actually is the ONLY difference between conviction or an acquittal (or the only thing preventing a prosecution in the first place). It certainly had no bearing on the George Zimmerman case.

      1. I don’t remember if it was something that EV wrote, or someone else, but I recently read an article that argued that the Retreat Doctrine was a result of a misinterpretation of English Common Law, that we inherited from the British. But one of the things pointed out was that it came from an era where the biggest threat was from edged weapons, and not firearms. You might be able to out run a sword. You can’t out race a bullet. And that is one of the requirements for the Retreat Doctrine, that you be able to retreat in safety.

        1. I don’t know, my impression is that duty to retreat arose from a judicial hostility to the right to self defense.

          At least in the context of Florida, the state had always been stand your ground, as a matter of common law. Then out of the blue the state supreme court came out with this lunatic ruling that not only imposed a duty to retreat, but asserted that that had always been the law in Florida.

          The legislature’s SYG law was just to put things back the way they’d been before the court did that.

          1. Bruce is right that duty to retreat was the law of the land in England for a long time. The idea was that only the King could justifiably take a life, and that you had the duty to retreat until “your back is to the wall” or something like that.

            Then in the early 1600s the idea of castle doctrine was introduced when the king’s police burst into someone’s house without properly announcing who they were so the guy justifiably defended himself.

            Seems like the British were way more advanced than we are when it comes to the obvious problem of no knock warrants.

  9. Prof EV, could you take a look at 17A MRSA 104?
    See: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/17-a/title17-asec104.html

    I am not so sure that Maine is *not* a “stand your ground” state because Maine police officers have told me that as long as you ask a trespasser to leave *three times* first, you can shoot him if he/she/it doesn’t leave.

    Now Maine, at least old Maine, didn’t try to encourage violence and the presumption was that someone asked to leave would do so, particularly in a state where almost everyone had at least one gun, but my reading of this statute is that it is a “stand your ground” law.

    OK, maybe there is to make a presumption that the person “is committing or is likely to commit some other crime within the dwelling place” — but why else would you shoot him?

    You aren’t going to shoot some lost tourist — shout a few choice obscenities perhaps, but if you actually shoot someone, at the very least, you have blood everywhere and a real mess to clean up, not to mention whatever damage your round(s) did to your house after exiting the perp.

    Besides, guns fired inside of houses are really loud and have a bad habit of shattering quite-expensive windowpanes as well. (You kinda know that it will be the uber-expensive double-paned picture window that will shatter, because it *is* the most expensive one…)

    So no, you don’t shoot people unless you have to — and I believe that Maine law is in that tradition — but how is this not a SYG statute?

    1. Dr Ed,
      You can’t just shoot trespassers if they refuse to leave your property.
      You have to face an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury before you can shoot someone.
      And even in Castle doctrine states, the person has to have made a forcible entry into your house for you to get the legal presumption that they are a deadly force threat.
      If you invite someone in, and then tell him to leave, you can’t just shoot him if he refuses to leave and poses no threat.

      1. The Maine law he cited allows deadly force to prevent property crime. Essentially, it allows deadly force to stop common law burglary (unlawful entry of a dwelling with intent to commit a crime within) whether or not any person is in danger. It does not allow shooting invited guests even if they wear out their welcome.

    2. Bummer. Browser lost my previous comment.

      My reading of the ME statute is that it is a Castle Doctrine, and not SYD law. Essentially it allows you to shoot someone who has broken into your home to commit criminal trespass, arson, etc if you ask them first to leave (not applicable to presumed arsonists). What these laws typically do is to lower the requirements for the use of deadly force within your home. In this case, you don’t have to prove a reasonable belief in imminent death or great bodily injury – just that they were in the home without permission and appeared to be there to commit one of the listed category of crimes.

    3. “Stand your ground” (SYG) relates to use of forceoff your property or premises – such as at a gas station. Not in your house.

      The more appropriate section I believe is: 17A MRSA §108. See 2 (C) (3): “However, a person is not justified in using deadly force if…The person knows that the person or a 3rd person can, with complete safety…Retreat from the encounter, except that the person or the 3rd person is not required to retreat if the person or the 3rd person is in the person’s dwelling place and was not the initial aggressor; ”

      As I read it, ME is a castle doctrine state (no duty to retreat in your home) but not a SYG because outside your home you have a duty to retreat.

    4. I am not so sure that Maine is *not* a “stand your ground” state because Maine police officers have told me that as long as you ask a trespasser to leave *three times* first, you can shoot him if he/she/it doesn’t leave.

      Setting aside the transparent lie about the police officers, you are, as usual, completely ignorant of the issues here. No state imposes a duty to retreat on a person in their own home.

      1. Massachusetts (circa Michael Dukakis) once did — since changed.

    5. because Maine police officers have told me

      No, they didn’t.

  10. IDK, in my mind there is not much daylight between the prong of SYG statues which state that self defense is not available to an aggressor, and statues that require retreat.

    “retreat only if its safe to do so with complete safety,” is a nominal burden.

    I think “retreat” sends a clear signal who the aggressor is. I think is just natural to ask “Did you try to get away?” The alternate is that you were looking for a fight. keep in mind, even in duty to retreat states, you don’t need to retreat from a gun or usually from a forcible felony like robbery. In those situations it’s clear who the aggressor is.

    I often wonder how often prosecutors really rely on on attempted retreat.

    1. This sounds more like an effort to moot SYG, than an honest interpretation of it.

      1. I don’t know what that means. I live in a “duty to retreat state” (MD). I am not required to retreat from a robbery, or if someone threatens me with a gun. That covers nearly every situation I might find myself in. MD is, for my purposes, a de facto stand your ground state.

        Excluding the above, what is left? A bar fight? Confronting a neighbor? Arguing over a deal gone wrong? In a SYG state, I need to show I am not the aggressor. In a Duty to Retreat state, I need to show retreat was not possible.

        Most people operate under the principle the best fight is the one you avoid. At least from middle school on. So I see only a tiny shard of daylight between requirements.

        1. I don’t think not retreating makes you the aggressor.

          If you’re walking down the sidewalk and someone pulls a knife on you saying, “turn around and run or I’ll kill you,” whether you decide to comply or stand your ground, you’re not the aggressor.

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