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Thread: Duty To Retreat?

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    Regular Member Tucker6900's Avatar
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    Duty To Retreat?

    I have been reading through Iowa Code 704, and have been unable to find the part that says we, as Iowans, have a duty to retreat. Someone please verify, and if I am wrong, please cite the specific code that "DTR" is under. Thanks.


    http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/coo...a=83&input=704

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker6900 View Post
    I have been reading through Iowa Code 704, and have been unable to find the part that says we, as Iowans, have a duty to retreat. Someone please verify, and if I am wrong, please cite the specific code that "DTR" is under. Thanks.


    http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/coo...a=83&input=704
    Duty to retreat isn't codified anywhere, but, whether right or wrong, that is what the courts have interpreted the law to mean. The really short answer is that lethal force has not been considered "reasonable" by case precedent if one can retreat from the situation without increasing the danger to oneself. The law on self defense has lots of ambiguous and (unconstitutionally?) vague language in it. "Reasonable" could be interpreted slightly differently by every single jury ever empaneled.

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    Regular Member Tucker6900's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amaixner View Post
    Duty to retreat isn't codified anywhere, but, whether right or wrong, that is what the courts have interpreted the law to mean. The really short answer is that lethal force has not been considered "reasonable" by case precedent if one can retreat from the situation without increasing the danger to oneself. The law on self defense has lots of ambiguous and (unconstitutionally?) vague language in it. "Reasonable" could be interpreted slightly differently by every single jury ever empaneled.
    Gotcha.

    So....Case law says that the law means something other than what is written.

  4. #4
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Duty to retreat from inherited English Common Law

    The duty to retreat is from English Common Law, common to all US states except Louisiana, with its legal roots in the Napoleonic Code, and some New York civil code from the Dutch.

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    704.1 REASONABLE FORCE.
    "Reasonable force" is that force and no more which a
    reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary
    to prevent an injury or loss and can include deadly force if it is
    reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or
    risk to one's life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it
    is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a
    like force or threat. Reasonable force, including deadly force, may
    be used even if an alternative course of action is available if the
    alternative entails a risk to life or safety, or the life or safety
    of a third party, or requires one to abandon or retreat from one's
    dwelling or place of business or employment.
    You have the duty to retreat unless doing so is going to risk your life or safety. Saying you are not required to retreat from your dwelling, place of business, or employment infers that you have the duty to retreat every time else unless doing so is going to put you in harms way and case law backs that up. It isn't too bad though because if you are going to have to shoot someone in defense you probably do not have the option to do something else.

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    Some states have or are in the process of changing this concept. The "Castle Doctrine" or "Stand your ground" laws usually say something to the essence of 'if you're somewhere you have a legal right to be, then you don't have to first retreat before exercising your right of self-defense.'
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    Quote Originally Posted by bforn View Post
    You have the duty to retreat unless doing so is going to risk your life or safety. Saying you are not required to retreat from your dwelling, place of business, or employment infers that you have the duty to retreat every time else unless doing so is going to put you in harms way and case law backs that up. It isn't too bad though because if you are going to have to shoot someone in defense you probably do not have the option to do something else.
    Thanks for a very well-stated post.

    I certainly agree with your last salient remark. Indeed, if one has to use his / her weapon to shoot someone in self-defense, you would definitely be at the proverbial "end of your rope". I pray that I'm never put in this sitution, but daily prepare myself mentally and technically for that scenario.
    Last edited by MilProGuy; 10-24-2011 at 08:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark-in-texas View Post
    Some states have or are in the process of changing this concept. The "Castle Doctrine" or "Stand your ground" laws usually say something to the essence of 'if you're somewhere you have a legal right to be, then you don't have to first retreat before exercising your right of self-defense.'
    Castle Doctrine and Stand your Ground are two different things. We are trying to get a stand your ground law in Iowa but what we have right now isn't that bad. Iowa right now, even though it is not clearly and specifically stated in the code, does have a duty to retreat. Get away from the situation if at all possible, but if it is possible you would probably not be drawing your gun.

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