RETREAT RULE

RETREAT RULE

retreat rule. Criminal law. The doctrine holding that the victim of a murderous assault must choose a safe retreat instead of resorting to deadly force in self-defense, unless (1) the victim is at home or in his or her place of business (the so-called castle doctrine), or (2) the assailant is a person whom the victim is trying to arrest. ? A minority of American jurisdictions have adopted this rule. Cf. NO-RETREAT RULE. [Cases: Homicide 798.]

¡°The rationale for the retreat rule is not difficult to ascertain, at least in part. It rests upon the view that human life, even the life of an aggressor, is sufficiently important that it should be preserved when to do so requires only the sacrifice of the much less important interest in standing one’s ground.¡± George E. Dix, ¡°Justification: Self-defense,¡± in 3 Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice 946, 948¨C49 (Sanford H. Kadish ed., 1983).


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