Sunday, March 11, 2012

Minnesota Governor Rejects Expansion of Castle Doctrine

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a revised version of the Castle Doctrine that would have expanded the cases in which people could use deadly force, reported The Associated Press.

In his veto letter, Dayton cited opposition to the bill from police groups who said it could legalize murder in some cases. "When they strongly oppose a measure, because they believe it will increase the dangers to them in the performance of their duties, I cannot support it," Dayton wrote.

Minnesota's Castle Doctrine allowed the use deadly force in defending a home or dwelling. The new bill would have expanded the definition of dwelling to include a hotel room, tent, car or boat.

The legislation also would have created a presumption that a person who uses deadly force did so believing they were in danger of harm or death. Current law says deadly force may be used if it is what a reasonable person would do, and if there is no way to safely retreat. The bill would have removed the obligation to retreat, reported The Associated Press.

Dayton said state law already allows law-abiding citizens to use deadly force to defend themselves or others — either inside or outside of their homes — as long as the use of deadly force constitutes "reasonable force."

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