FLA abolishes retreat requirement for self defense
The Florida legislature has passed a statute abolishing the retreat requirement. The Reuters article indicates that the standard will be "reasonable belief they are in danger of death or great bodily harm." It quotes a Demo state Rep. as saying "All this bill will do is sell more guns and possibly turn Florida into the OK Corral," which says more about the Rep. than it does about the bill.
The article also notes that the Florida courts had already expanded the no-retreat from your home exception to cover business premises and automobiles.
Note that under some legal regimes, retreat can still, dare I say, come in the back door. If the standard is whether deadly force was reasonably seen as necessary (that is, you must reasonably fear death and reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to avoid it), the prosecution is still free to argue that it wasn't necessary because you could have fled. All the same, the defender is better off in that situation if the jury doesn't have to be instructed that flight was a legal duty.
Thanks to TarponBill for the tip!
Washington (state), true to its liberal nature, has very liberal use-of-lethal-force laws, nor does it require retreat when one is going about his or her lawful business.
The state Supreme Court ruled last year that when self defense is argued at trial, the judge must inform the jury that there is no duty to retreat.
Posted by: Joe Waldron at April 5, 2005 05:37 PM
When a clear and reasonable voice is heard over the din of dramatic and horrified emotion, it is wise to listen and enjoy the moment. As I am now.
The right to be left alone. As stated by JB Books in "The Shootist" (paraphrased): "I don't do these things to other men, and I'll not have them done to me." Reading between the lines, as practiced by Law professors when reading the Constituition, gives us 'peace through strength', and 'mind your own business', and 'Do Unto Others...', as examples of the clear and logical right to protect ones self from assault.
Posted by: Dan Patterson at April 5, 2005 07:44 PM
Definitely a step in the right direction for FL. Has FL adopted a make-my-day law? (intruder in the house = intent to harm)
Posted by: Christopher A. George at April 5, 2005 08:58 PM
Thank you for the good work you are doing here.
I would be interested in hearing your comments on the work of Bob Schulz at GiveMeLiberty.org.
Posted by: Doug Kenline at April 6, 2005 07:28 AM