When a person is in his own home and he or the members of his family are assaulted or placed in apparent imminent danger of great personal injury, he has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, even to the extent of taking life if he actually believes, and the circumstances and surrounding conditions are such that a reasonably cautious and prudent person would believe, danger of death or great personal injury to be imminent at the hands of the assailant.
Defendant owned two mobile homes, and his daughter got into an argument near the home with another woman. She told the defendant about the argument. The woman's boyfriend came to the home and began banging on the door, and the defendant told him to leave. The boyfriend did not do so, paced around and told the defendant to fight. The boyfriend and defendant fought after the boyfriend hit the defendant. The boyfriend threatened the defendant with a pistol, and then charged defendant. Defendant had removed his knife from a belt in order to protect himself, and the boyfriend was killed. Witnesses testified that the defendant had no room to retreat. The prosecution argued that the area where the fight occurred was not defendant's property, and defendant was convicted of murder. The court denied Defendant's’ motion for judgment of acquittal.
Was there a duty to retreat before using deadly force to protect yourself or family from attack, when you are attacked in the home or surrounding area?
On appeal, the Court found that the defendant presented sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie issue of self-defense. Further, the State of Florida was unable to present the competent, substantial evidence necessary to overcome the defense and in fact presented evidence that was consistent with the defense. Thus, the trial court should have granted defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal.