[r57] Rep. Eberhart Supports Citizens' Rights, Protects Police (3/1/2012)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Start Date: 3/1/2012
End Date: 3/1/2012

Bartholomew County

Shelby County

Rep. Eberhart Supports Citizens’ Rights, Protects Police

STATEHOUSE — Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) voted for Senate Bill (SB) 1 today, which passed out of the House by a vote of 74 to 24. This legislation seeks to provide a remedy to the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision on the Barnes v. State of Indiana case involving unlawful entry by a law enforcement officer. 

Rep. Eberhart had concerns that this case set a misguided precedent by stating that an individual never has the right to forcefully resist unlawful intrusion by a rogue law enforcement officer. 

“The General Assembly made it a top priority to address this issue,” said Rep. Eberhart. “If history has taught us anything, it’s that our previous system of governance has worked for the past 236 years to effectively protect citizens and police officers.

“Senate Bill 1 defines how a person can lawfully protect their home, and it adds critical safeguards to protect police.” 

This legislation restores a property owner’s right to protect themselves against anyone who acts unlawfully as has always been defined by the law. Indiana’s self-defense statutes were created in 1976 and amended in 2006.

“A person should be able to protect themselves against unlawful action, and Senate Bill 1 respects that ideology by upholding the Castle Doctrine,” said Rep. Eberhart. “There are provisions in the bill, which I think are very important, that recognize the unique duty law enforcement has and serves to protect our law enforcement officers. It also ensures that we aren’t providing a safe haven for criminals to conduct illegal activities.” 

In criminal law, the Castle Doctrine is an exception to the retreat rule, which allows a person to use deadly force while protecting his/her home, its premises and its inhabitants from attack such as from a trespasser who intends to commit a felony or inflict serious bodily harm.
Simply put, this bill puts Indiana back into a pre-Barnes position.  

SB 1 was amended in the House and garnered bipartisan support. The bill will now return to the Senate for approval of changes. Once approved, it will move to the governor’s desk, where if signed, the bill will go into effect upon passage.