It was self-defense…or was it?
Some states have a “stand your ground” law, which means that a person does not need to back down from an attacker before they can use deadly force. Minnesota has something different, called a “duty to retreat” rule, which means that the person must back away from the confrontation if it is possible and backing down does not put them into more danger. Force can only be used as a last resort.
The only exception to the “duty to retreat” is if the defendant is in their own home, this is called a “castle doctrine”, there is no duty to retreat from one’s own home. To justify self-defense, the following must be present:
- No aggression by the defendant
- Defendant believe they were in imminent danger of great bodily harm
- Defendant’s belief was reasonable
- There was no reasonable possibility of retreat available to avoid the threat