Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cops protest NRA-backed law allowing deadly force

Indianapolis – Indiana police officers are very upset with a law that would give citizens the right to shoot them if they break down the door without a warrant - or turn an investigation into a home invasion.

An NRA-backed bill, it's an extension of the “castle doctrine” that some legal scholars trace all the way back to the Magna Charta in its doctrine of granting people the right to use deadly force in resistance to unreasonable search and seizures, as well as home invasions.

Legislators, who were alarmed with a state supreme court ruling that held “there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers,” enacted a law granting the right of using deadly force when cops break into homes unlawfully.

It all started when Richard L. Barnes argued with his wife Mary, and she told him to leave their home.

When she reached for a phone to call her sister, he grabbed it from her hand and threw it at the wall. Then Mrs. Barnes used her cell phone to call police, who responded to a “domestice violence in progress” call.

When they reached the Barnes residence, they found Mr. Barnes packing his things into his car and Mrs. Barnes throwing a duffel bag at him.

She told him to come back inside and get the rest of his stuff, according to the police report.

He began to shout loudly when an officer confronted him; he refused to lower his voice, even though the officer warned him to calm down – or else.

The cops followed him to the door, where he shoved one of them against the wall, then attempted to slam the door in his face.

The police rendered him unconscious with a choke hold; they used a Taser on him. Then then transported him to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Misdemeanor charges included Class A battery on a police officer, Class A resisting law enforcement, Class B disorderly conduct, and Class A interference with the reporting of a crime.

When convicted on the charges, Mr. Barnes appealed. He said the trial court erred when it would not allow him give the jurors a “tendered jury instruction” on their finding as to the lawfulness of the police officers' entry to his home.

He alleged that there was insufficient evidence that he battered the officer, engaged in disorderly conduct, resisted law enforcement, or interfered with the reporting of a crime.

The justices of the Indiana Supreme Court held that none of that mattered because, in every point on appeal, including the allegation that the trial court erred by not allowing the defense to tender a jury instruction, Mr. Barnes had no right to resist the entry of police into his home.

Yelling at the cops is not to be considered political speech because it “is not within the contours of political speech...”

“Because we decline to recognize the right of a homeowner to reasonably resist unlawful entry, Barnes is not entitled to batter (Officer) Reed, irrespective as to the legality of Reed's entry.”

As to resisting arrest, the Court held that “Because Barnes is not entitled to resist the entry of the officers, his battery on Reed was sufficient grounds for his arrest, and the uncontroverted fact that he resisted the arrest was sufficient to sustain his conviction.”

Three of the justices concurred; two of them dissented.

Mr. Justie J. Dickson uttered the opininon that “In my view, the wholesale abrogation of the historic right of a person to reasonably resist unlawful police entry into his dwelling is unwarranted and unneccessarily broad.”

Mr. Justice J. Rucker said that though many judges now think that the common law rule of a citizen's right to resist unlawful entry in the home is “no longer applicable for the twenty-first century, or, for that matter, the twentieth century,” he finds that “the common law resist unlawful into her home rests on a very different ground, namely, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

He quoted a New York case that held “the physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.”

Justice Rucker concluded in his dissent by saying that “In my view it is breathtaking that the majority deems it appropriate or even necessary to erode this constitutional protection based on a rationale addressing much different policy considerations. There is simply no reason to abrogate the common law right of a citizen to resist the unlawful police entry into his or her home.”

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