What’s Really at Stake in the Rittenhouse Case

In 1994 Utah became the first state to pass what has come to be known as “stand your ground” (SYG). Florida followed in 2005, and since then a total of 34 states have passed similar laws. SYG alters the traditional rule of self-defense, which for centuries has required the defendant to avoid a violent confrontation if at all possible. The only exception to the duty to retreat that the common law recognized was called the Castle Doctrine. Based on the idea that “a man’s home is his castle,” the Castle Doctrine allows one to use force in self-defense without trying to retreat…