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Stand-Your-Ground The Rule In California

Publication Date: 
April 14, 2012
San Francisco Chronicle
Bob Egelko

Professor Robert Weisberg discussed the differences and similarities between "stand your ground" laws in Florida and California in the following article by Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The stand-your-ground doctrine, which has vaulted into national prominence with the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, isn't limited to the two dozen states that have passed laws since 2005 expanding the right to use deadly force in confrontations.

It's also the rule in California, by court decree. For more than a century, the state's judges have declared that a person who reasonably believes he or she faces serious injury or death from an assailant does not have to back off - inside or outside the home - and instead can use whatever force is needed to eliminate the danger.


There are also differences in the legal culture of California and a state such as Florida, where self-defense rights have been broadened by the Legislature, said Robert Weisberg, a Stanford law professor.

Passage of such a law is "a signal to the courts that the overall legislative intent is to be extremely deferential to defendants who claim self-defense," he said.