‘Duty to retreat’ self-defense law stuck in committee

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A bill unveiled during the 2017 general session of the Utah Legislature that would clarify a person in Utah is lawfully allowed to defend themselves if attacked and not legally required to retreat from an aggressor even if there is a safe place to retreat to appears to have stalled in the Senate.

The proposed Duty to Retreat Amendments, designated as HB 259 and sponsored by Rep. A. Cory Maloy of Lehi, would have made it illegal for prosecutors to argue that a person who uses deadly force in an act of self-defense should have taken the opportunity to run instead.

Such an argument is called a “duty to retreat.”

Under current Utah law, a person is not required to run away from a confrontation in which defensive force is justified to stop a threat.

However, in a trial setting, prosecutors can argue that the use of force was unreasonable if the person could have retreated to safety.

On Monday, Maloy argued before the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee that the bill was a clarification and not a change to the current statute on self-defense.

His arguments did not convince the Committee to move the bill forward. Instead, the bill was sent back to the Senate Rules Committee, where it remained Tuesday.

FOX13Now in Salt Lake City reported that Maloy’s bill is not likely to make it through the heavy end-of-session legislative workload.


Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2017 issues

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • Craig March 8, 2017 at 10:33 am

    It needs this clarification. This prevents abuse by an over zealous government.

  • high5 March 8, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I’m callin BS

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