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Legislative committee to look at Barnes decision

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Not since daylight-saving time has an issue agitated Sen. Brent Steele’s constituents as much as the recent decision by the Indiana Supreme Court on illegal police entry.

Steele, R-Bedford, said a lot of people are upset over the decision in Barnes v. State, handed down by a split Supreme Court in May, which ended the common-law right to resist illegal entry into a home by police. Steele said the ruling flies in the face of the Castle Doctrine, codified in Indiana Code 35-41-3-2 in 2006, which says that a person is justified in using reasonable force and doesn’t have a duty to retreat if the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent or terminate someone’s unlawful entry or attack on the person’s home.

Now, Steele and other legislators are going to address the fallout from the decision in a special committee.

Chair of the Legislative Council, President Pro Tempore Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, asked Steele to chair the committee created Tuesday to look into the Barnes decision. The committee is also comprised of Sen. Tim Lanane; D-Anderson, Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, who is a former police officer; and Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero. The committee plans on meeting toward the end of June. Steele said even if the Supreme Court rehears the case and alters or narrows its decision, the Legislature still must act.

“There will be a decision some day that comes on the Fourth (Amendment), and (the justices) will say the Legislature didn’t do anything” so it will be up the court to interpret statute, he said.

One of the possible solutions is to put into code all of the exigent circumstances that could be used to justify a warrantless entry, but Steele isn’t sure yet what decisions the committee may make. They will complete a final report with suggested solutions by the end of October.

 “We are going to fix it,” he said.

In addition to the study committee on the Barnes decision, the Legislative Council released the topics interim study committees will be looking into this summer. They include redistricting, sex crimes against children, critical problems in the criminal justice and corrections systems, and sentencing issues. A complete list is available on the General Assembly’s website.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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