|Senate Bill 1 Author |
Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis
The question is...would the law even apply to the Barnes v. Indiana situation? It appears that Senate Bill 1, the Indiana law intended to fix the issue raised in that Supreme Court case, also is maybe a bit problematic.
Senator Mike Young, who authored the bill, wrote it in such a way that a home owner would have the right to resist an unlawful entry of an officer in limited cases. Key under the bill is the identification of the person trying to gain entry. If a homeowner does not know it's an officer, then the bill gives them the right to use reasonable force, including physical force, to resist the law enforcement officer's unlawful entry into the home. If a person knows it is a police officer, then you can use reasonable force to keep them out of the home but not physical force.
The bill, however, immediately sets out the following situations where one may not resist:
1. An investigation of suspected domestic or family violence (as defined in Indiana Code)Also included are provisions for an officer entering a dwelling in "hot pursuit" or an officer entering to catch an escaping criminal, or with a warrant.
2. The entry of a dwelling by a law enforcement officer who has a reasonable belief that a person inside the dwelling has been or is at risk of physical harm.
3. An entry into a residence by invitation of at least one (1) adult resident, unless one (1) ore more other adult residents.
Looking at the facts of Barnes v. Indiana, I'm not sure the new law just passed out of committee would apply.
Let me add in here that I am just a teacher; I am not a lawyer.
In Barnes v. Indiana, the officer responding to an incident was dispatched on a 911 call that was classified as a domestic violence call. That makes it easy to think that the officer might be in that frame of mind going in.
Upon arriving on the scene, the first responding officer found the husband, Richard Barnes and Mary Barnes in at minimum a major disagreement. Richard Barnes was getting his things and in an agitated mood and so was his wife Mary. It's hard to determine if the officer could have determined whether or not a person was at risk of harm, but it's also easy to see how they could.
I just don't think Senate Bill 1 would have helped Mr. Barnes be justified in keeping the officer out of his home. I don't think it touches, what I consider, the heart of the poor Supreme Court decision.
The big problem in the decision set down by the Supreme Court was the statement in the decision that the "right to reasonably resist an unlawful entry into a home is no longer recognized under Indiana law." Senate Bill 1 tries to provide the right, but I think it's sloppily written and will put law enforcement officials into tough situations.
I don't know how you fix the Supreme Court's decision, but I think remedies now available under Senate Bill 1 are problems now waiting to happen should it pass into law.
If I'm wrong on this, please set me straight my lawyer friends.