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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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