Much Confusion Around Both Stand-Your-Ground and Castle Doctrine
This is a great question because there is so much confusion around both these terms. Much of the confusion stems from the fact that although both of these terms have a narrow, technically-correct meaning they have also been commonly used to refer to other aspects of self-defense law beyond these core meanings. (In addition, of course, Stand-Your-Ground has been deliberately mischaracterized throughout the media by political activists for their own purposes.)
The Historical Context of Stand-Your-Ground and the Castle Doctrine
First, let’s talk about the core definitions of the Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground in terms of how they are similar. To provide necessary context, we’ll begin with some history.
America was, of course, a British colony prior to our Revolution, and operated under principles of British law, much of which was based on common law (that is, law developed by practice in courts rather then formed by statutes). Given the length of British history, much of that common law finds its foundations hundreds of years in the past. And it is in that distant past that we encounter the generalized duty to retreat.
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Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (where a custom autograph can be specified, great for gift purchases!), Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.
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