‘Defense of Dwelling’ Heads to MN Supreme Court

The Minnesota State Supreme Court is set to examine the issue known as “defense of dwelling.” The consideration is expected after a man in Waseca, Minnesota received three assault charges, according to an AP report appearing on TwinCities.com.

51-year-old Daniel Devens, who was charged, supposedly came into contact with an intoxicated man in the hallway of his apartment complex. According to Devens’ account, the intoxicated man was knocking loudly and that’s when Devens asked him to leave.

Devens then walked the intoxicated man down the hallway. After that? The intoxicated man claims Devens hit him, resulting in a brawl that eventually led to the two falling down the stairs. The intoxicated individual spent around a week recovering from injuries he sustained during the incident.

Accounts of what actually took place during the incident differ, according to the two individuals involved. Whatever the case, one of the charges against Devens includes a serious felony of first-degree assault.

Under current Minnesota law, in cases of self-defense, a citizen should retreat as a safety precaution. However, in instances of “defense of dwelling” where an individual is being attacking within his or her home, what’s considered reasonable force is expanded.

Davens’ legal team insists the Davens should have been able to use “defense of dwelling” during his trial, something that was denied to him by an earlier Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling. The Appeals court disallowed the defense, arguing the hallway didn’t count as Davens’ home, all while noting that someone else had invited the intoxicated individual to the complex.

Meanwhile, Davens has also defended his actions by signaling he dealt with the drunken individual with the intention of preventing a possible crime.

So should someone’s apartment hallway count as a dwelling? The Minnesota State Supreme Court will officially make its voice heard on the issue come August 30th, a ruling that could have implications for future court cases.

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