Stand Your Ground Laws (one such defense just failed in Montana)

Jay Leiderman
By: Jay Leiderman
December 21 2014

So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are a subject of controversy both in the legal community and in the public debate. This reached a fever pitch when George Zimmerman was acquitted of the killing of Trayvon Martin.

What is a stand your ground law? Wikipedia has an excellent definition, and I will share that with you:

In the United States, stand-your-ground law states that an individual has no duty to retreat from any place they have lawful right to be and may use any level of force, including lethal, if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death.

Forty-six U.S. states have adopted the castle doctrine, stating that a person has no duty to retreat when their home is attacked. Twenty-two states have removed the duty to retreat requirement from other locations as well.[Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (2013). “States with ‘stand your ground'” (JPG). Christian Science Monitor.] “Stand Your Ground”, “Line in the Sand” or “No Duty to Retreat” laws thus state that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant. Under such laws, there is no duty to retreat from anywhere the defender may legally be.[Florida Statutes Title XLVI Chapter 776] Other restrictions may still exist; such as when in public, a person must be carrying firearms in a legal manner, whether concealed or openly.

Attorney and author Jay Leiderman is a California State Bar Certied Criminal Law Specialist and he handles all types of homicide cases in both State and Federal Courts. Call today for a free consultation: 805-654-0200, or fill out the contact form on this website:

Montana man convicted in German student’s death in ‘stand your ground’ self-defense case

AP: MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Before shooting to death a 17-year-old German exchange student who had sneaked into his garage, Markus Kaarma told at least three people he had been waiting up at night to shoot some kids who were burglarizing homes.

He also told them they would see it on the news.

On April 27, a motion detector alerted Kaarma someone was in his Missoula garage. He went outside and almost immediately fired four shotgun blasts, killing Diren Dede (DEER’-uhn DAY’-day).

Kaarma’s “castle doctrine” defense failed him Wednesday for those reasons. A Montana jury convicted him of deliberate homicide.

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