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Lawmakers finalizing post-Barnes legislation proposals

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A legislative study committee is about a week away from finalizing its proposals to clarify state law and allow for Indiana residents to use reasonable force to resist police entry into their homes in all but domestic violence and certain emergency situations.

The panel studying the Indiana Supreme Court’s rulings in Barnes v. State met Thursday to discuss possibilities on revising state statute on the heels of the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling. The high court held residents don’t have a common law right to resist an officer entering one’s home and that the state’s “castle doctrine” doesn’t allow reasonable resistance even if police are entering illegally.

In May, the justices upheld an Evansville man’s conviction of resisting law enforcement in a purported domestic violence situation, and that decision sparked widespread disapproval and debate across Indiana. Critics argued it violated the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches and infringed on homeowners’ rights. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and 71 lawmakers asked the court to rehear the case. Last month, the justices reaffirmed the original ruling but invited the General Assembly to take up the matter and provide statutory defenses to resisting police entry into a home.

The proposed legislation takes up that invitation, saying people may use “reasonable force, including violent force” — if they believe it’s necessary and have no alternative — to prevent entry into their home if they do not know it's police or if the officer is not performing official duties.

In proposed legislative drafts discussed Thursday, the panel decided they would specifically include law enforcement officers under the castle doctrine but that ability to resist wouldn’t apply to suspected cases of domestic violence or imminent harm, crimes in progress, the service of warrants or pursuit of suspects.

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, one of the authors of the proposed legislation, said the exemptions including cases of imminent harm and hot pursuit were important to include to protect police. He noted the Barnes case involved a report of domestic violence in progress and said that in many such cases, victims will not speak out in the presence of their batterers.

“We need a bright line (rule), to delineate when violence can be used, to protect the people and our police officers,” Young said.

Other versions discussed Thursday are all being weaved into the final legislation, a combination of the work by Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, and Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford. Those proposals would make it a Class D felony for law enforcement officers to knowingly enter a home when it’s not necessary to prevent injury or death.

The panel is due to vote next week on its recommended legislation to the 2012 General Assembly. Any proposed bills still would need approval from the Indiana General Assembly and Gov. Mitch Daniels.
 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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