Minnesota: Weiss Case Dismissed, the Problem with Duty To Retreat

We Drive Late at Night, and Trouble is Waiting- More Self Defense Gun Stories.

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)-– On January 14, 2018, in Rochester, Minnesota, Alexander Weiss stopped to help people who were involved in a traffic accident. He ended in a confrontation with aggressive teenagers. Muhammed Rahim was claimed to have grabbed for Weiss’ handgun. Weiss shot and killed him. Surveillance video caught most of the action.

Early in the confrontation, Weiss had an opportunity to drive away.

Alexander Weiss was prosecuted in two trials, six months apart.  Both trials ended with hung juries and mistrials.  In November of 2019, the prosecutor dismissed the charges.

Finally, in May of 2020, a judge granted a motion to expunge the charges and seal them from the public record. From kalltv.com:

27-year-old Alexander Weiss was charged with second degree murder and tried twice. Both time the jury was deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.

All charges against Weiss were dismissed in November.

A motion was filed in January for an expungement and was granted last month. His record still exists but is no longer public record.

In the first trial, the defending attorney believed a majority of the jury voted to find his client not guilty. After the second trial, it was revealed majorities of both juries voted to acquit. From the startribune.com:

The first jury was split 9 to 3 to acquit, and the second was either 8 to 4 or 7 to 5 to acquit, Ostrem said. In both cases, jurors took votes early in deliberations and were of the same opinion after deliberations.

A retired federal officer told me that a decision to retry a defendant, when there is a majority vote to acquit, is uncommon.

The decision to retry after a 9-3 vote to acquit is highly unusual. The prosecutor acknowledged as much when he announced the dismissal. From twincities.com:

County Attorney Mark Ostrem said a unanimous verdict is highly improbable, so he has a legal obligation to dismiss the charge.

In the American justice system, there is significant punishment by process. Minnesota is one of a minority of American states which still have laws with a “duty to retreat” before deadly force can be justified. From uslawshield.com:

Fourteen states continue to impose some form of a legal duty to retreat: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. It is important to note that most states impose a legal duty to retreat only if it can be shown that the defender knew or should have known there was a reasonably safe way to retreat.

It was reported the duty to retreat was a significant part of jury deliberations in the two trials. Seven of the fourteen states which still have a “duty to retreat”; Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, are 7 of the 8 states which infringe on Second Amendment rights by allowing public officials to deny carry permits based on subjective criteria.

The doctrine of a duty to retreat is failing in the United States.

Alexander Weiss survived the deadly encounter. He survived the two trials. He obtained a court order to expunge the charges and seal the results. He probably has re-considered the choices he made hundreds or thousands of times.

Could he have avoided the encounter by driving away? Probably.

Would it be good public policy to require him to do so? That answer seems less than clear.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Would it be good public policy to require him to retreat and not stand your ground? I think the answer is, if there is no fight against evil then evil will win and eventually take over. Look at kommiefornia, OreGONE, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and more for an example of what burning, looting and murder will happen if evil is left unchecked. Look at what is happening to kommiefornia when police are defunded and turning your head the other way when someone steals is doing to the towns that it is happening in. The laws that they have in place to… Read more »


Pelosi just bought a mansion in Florida, so I guess the answer is Red States. That’s what I am reading too but I find it hard to believe that the rats would want to leave their trash ridden state that they created and love so much and in actuality the ones that hate it and what it has become are the real ones that are moving and will never vote RAT again.

If only that wish could come true but I wouldn’t trade it in for my big hit the lottery wish. LOL


LoL. Wouldn’t that be so typical of someone on the left. She probably wants it so she can get that picture of cliton in drag!!!!! Thanks for the laugh.


More importantly, does it have room for her ice cream freezers?


With over a hundred million dollars, gotten illegally,by the way, I don’t believe she has to worry about it.


see your doc a.s.a.p.
whatever meds you’re on now….. they ain’t workin’!!


No. It’s on the left coast of Florida.


All I can say is wow, what a lying POS.


LOL, that is not the only place I heard that, Fox had it too. How gullible and stupid one must be to think that someone that is crooked is going to turn good all of a sudden. Again, the left has no common sense and most of the ones committing the crimes refuse to pay taxes and the IRS doesn’t do anything. Look at, and I use the term loosely and he doesn’t deserve the title, Rev. Al sharpton. These my reparation and they aint no tax on reparation cuz use owes me. Go ahead and say it’s racist. Telling… Read more »


I know and it is sad that they have been dupped but it is always easier to say gimme rather than work for something. That is one of the things that pisses me off about thieves. They steal what I worked months to save for so I could buy it and then sell it for a bag of crank or weed. Then the next thief doesn’t want to give me what it is worth in my insurance claim and then the next thief thinks I should pay income tax on it because Uncle Sam thinks it is income. Screw them… Read more »


He doesn’t deserve reparations. He’s a lying, illegal phoney who screwed the state in the Tawana Brawly lying illegal phoney rape case so her daddy wouldn’t punish her for spending the night with her boyfriend. She said the raper was white and yelled and hollered about that “white racist who raped that poor innocent girl” until it was determined that the boyfriend was the one who did the deed. That in itself should disqualify him

Wild Bill

That is hilarious! And those people get paid by the taxpayers.


Bull shit.


Let’s call “duty to retreat” laws what they are. Duty to be a victim. The only person who has a duty to retreat is the person initiating aggression towards me. I have a duty to defend myself, my loved ones, and my property.


stand your ground


AMEN Brother!!!


Question: ( I am quite certain I know the answer)

Will this now-thrice proven innocent man ever be compensated for his monumental legal costs which he had to incur to avoid spenindg years in the lockup?

My nickel is no “NO WAY”, but that’s a travesty of justice.

As Dean said in thisiece.. the processs IS the punishment. He DARED to exercise his God-give RIGHT to arm himself agaisnt just this sort of thing, and now must be punished by the establishment that hate we who claim and use this right.

Wild Bill

Did Alexander Weiss have private counsel or public defender?
Does Mn have an Equal Access to Justice Act?


I hate the thought or the existence of gun insurance for when you carry but what you said is food for thought in favor of getting it like USCCA. It being made mandatory is a crock though. We shouldn’t be required to pay a fee to protect ourselves just like we shouldn’t have to pay a fee for a CCW.

Rock on constitutional carry states.

OreGONE, where we will never have it unless the legislature votes for it all across the USA like they didn’t do when we had the house, senate and presidency.


WA state has a law that reimburses the person found not guilty for self defense.It is one way to deter prosecutions in cases where self defense is at least probable.


The problem with a duty to retreat is that there is always a fact question and an argument that more could have been done to retreat. This can never stop. If you have been forced into the back corner of your bedroom, you could always go out the window. If you go out the window, you can always run away (an infinite distance).


Everything else being the same, if Kyle Rittenhouse had defended himself against BLACK attackers, do you think he would be free today?


That is a dam good question. The answer should be that it would have turned out the same regardless of color but with all the brainwashing going on today and the idiots that suck it up, I would be concerned for the outcome for anyone in that situation right now. They did find a black man not guilty for self-defense just about three weeks ago so that was a plus. They found three men guilty for murdering a black man for checking out some construction sites that had nothing on him from that site that tried to perform a citizen’s… Read more »


Those in the government who work non-stop to disarm American Citizens, and curse the Second Amendment for being the obstacle in their way, have in the meantime at least OUTLAWED THE USE OF FIREARMS through the process of PROSECUTION! Not so much to prosecute armed CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, BUT TO PROSECUTE THE ARMED DEFENSE AGAINST CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND VIOLENCE! You don’t even need to have shot anyone, ask the McCloskey’s! IT IS ILLEGAL TO USE FORCE AGAINST FORCE TO DEFEND YOURSELF! Law requires passive happy-to-have-survived-victims cowering under the table dialing 911. . . . and if you DON’T survive . .… Read more »


you cant point the gun unless you shoot , no active de escalation closer than 21′ point and shoot


You are so right! My son got popped for illegal use of a weapon. There were four of them and one of him. They wanted to impose some severe damage about his person. He grabbed his weapon and didn’t fire. Ergo, unlawfull use of a weapon. I told him that he should have shot the bastards. Then it would have been lawfull. I told him that if he ever had to pull his weapon he had better fire.

Wild Bill

What ever happened to their slogan, ” If even one life were saved.” ? Apparently, we, saving our own lives, is not their intended context.


“7 of 8 states infringe on Second Amendment rights by allowing public officials to deny carry permits based on subjective criteria.” I thought this settled in Chicago vs MacDonald in 2010 and also Heller vs DC in 2008? Both cases were decided for the plaintiffs to be infringements of 2nd amendment–a constitutional right. Last I looked these states fall under the Constitution does it not apply to them?

Henry Bowman

States that violate 2A are ignoring the Constitution and essentially committing Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, a felony at 18 U.S. Code §242. Retrial is, IMHO, a violation of the 5th Amendment.
Worse, if a disabled person (someone who has mobility limitations) is forced to defend himself with their firearm, a prosecutor may choose to prosecute the lawful gun-owner for “failure to retreat” anyway, even if it’s clearly a clean shoot as was the case with Kyle Rittenhouse.

As President Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”


If you have a gun, you should have carry insurance. it’s cheap at around a dollar or two dollars a day. it will pay your legal expenses if you are charged with using a gun in a self-defense situation. You can expect the lawyers retainer for defending a brandishing charge to be $30,000. if you go to trial your legal defense will cost about $250,000 at the minimum. if you need to hire consultants as part of your case the fee will be $350,000 and if you are convicted, appeals cost extra. The quality of your defense will be directly… Read more »

Wild Bill

Maybe it is a good idea. Maybe it is an extra expense.


not in Texas nor Oklahoma. Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground lead the way. In OK, once the DA rules the shoot justified, no civil suits either. just be sure your shoot is righteous.