The retreat doctrine requires that a person must retreat from an attack if he can do so without putting himself in danger of death or serious injury. The doctrine puts a premium on human life. The stand-your-ground doctrine allows that if you did not begin the fight, you can stand your ground and use as much force as is reasonably necessary.
A person can only use self-defense to protect him/herself or another from imminent danger, real or perceived. But the presumption of perceived danger must also follow the “reasonable person” test. Although this is a subjective “feeling” on the part of the person at the time of the event, it must be deemed to be reasonable. A judge or jury, and in some high profile cases, public opinion, will “judge” your actions.
Initial Post Instructions
Look up and read your state’s self-defense revised code. Identify what does your state law provide about defense of property.
Next, research the Bernard Goetz criminal and civil cases. Do you think Mr. Goetz used justified use of self-defense or did he overreact? Was there a tipping point from self-defense to deadly assault? Why or why not? At what point? Finally, was Goetz a vigilante? Describe why or why not.
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