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Evidence does not support stand-your-ground defense

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A man’s attempt to bolster his defense by using Indiana’s stand-your-ground law was rejected because the evidence did not support his claim.

Dwight Hayes was arrested and charged after he pointed two handguns at Natasha McDaniel who was trying to serve him with legal documents. McDaniel remained on the public sidewalk outside Hayes’ home and never tried to enter his front yard.

At trial, Hayes wanted the jury instructions to contain the information that a person may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to prevent unlawful entry or attack on his property. In addition, he wanted the jury to be told that the state has the burden of proving the defendant did not act in defense of his property.

Although the Marion Superior Court found the instruction was a correct statement of the law, the court rejected the three paragraphs since there was no evidence indicating his property was being attacked.

On appeal, Hayes pointed out that McDaniel first walked into his yard and knocked on his front door, and then returned to her truck before he confronted her. This, he argued, established why he believed he needed to prevent any unlawful re-entry onto his property.

The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed the trial court’s ruling in Dwight Hayes v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1312-CR-619.

“Although McDaniel has knocked on Hayes’s front door in an effort to serve him with legal documents, she had returned to her truck and was completing paperwork when Hayes arrived in the front yard with two guns,” Judge Michael Barnes, wrote for the court. “At that point, McDaniel got out of her truck to talk to Hayes but remained on the public sidewalk at all times. Her friend testified she was 100 percent sure that McDaniel did not try to open the gate again. There simply is no evidence that McDaniel was attempting to attack or unlawfully enter Hayes’s property when Hayes pointed the guns at McDaniel.”

 

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