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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ind. Courts - "Lawmakers define protections from police entry"

The Gary Post-Tribune has a brief story this afternoon by Tom LoBianco of the AP that begins:

Richard Barnes may have started a constitutional furor in 2007 when he shoved a police officer against the wall of his house. But he would not have benefitted from a new set of rules Indiana lawmakers are drafting in response to the incident.
And chair Senator Brent Steele has sent out a press release headed "Barnes v. State Subcommittee Passes Final Report, Still Open to Suggestions in Upcoming Session." A quote:
“Our draft legislation allows statutory defense for homeowners in specific situations of unlawful home entry by law enforcement,” Steele (R-Bedford) said. “It was this panel’s goal to make a suggestion that would protect both homeowners and police officers, reducing the potential for violence and respecting the private property of citizens.”

As currently written, the committee’s draft legislation permits a homeowner to use reasonable force in resisting a police officer’s unlawful entry into a dwelling if that homeowner does not have actual knowledge that the officer is, in fact, an officer or if the officer is not engaged in official duty. The legislation notes that, even then, violent force should be used to prevent the unlawful entry only if there is no other adequate alternative.

However, Steele said the draft legislation does not allow homeowners to resist if a police officer enters in cases of:

  • Suspected domestic violence or reasonable belief that someone inside the house is at risk of physical harm;
  • Invitation from at least one resident, unless one or more other adult residents object;
  • Hot pursuit;
  • Pursuit of a criminal committing or escaping after the commission of a crime; and
  • Possession of a warrant.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 10, 2011 04:30 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions