(AP) — Indiana lawmakers are backing legislation to give residents limited
rights to resist police officers entering their homes after the state
Supreme Court said last year that residents can't violently resist, even
when the entry is illegal.
Senate's criminal code committee voted 8-0 Tuesday to back the bill
introduced in the wake of a public uproar over the court's May decision.
Supporters say the bill is narrowly crafted to set out homeowners' rights,
while police and prosecutors worry it could increase the risk for
The bill would
allow residents to resist if the police officer wasn't identified or on
official duty. Officers would be allowed to enter homes when they have
court warrants, are chasing a criminal suspect, believe someone inside is
in danger or have permission from the residents.
"I think it
brings protection not only to homeowners, but to law enforcement as well,"
said bill sponsor Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis. "Both sides will be
protected. They will know what the line is and no one should cross it."
decision came in a case in which an Evansville man was convicted of
misdemeanor resisting arrest for blocking and shoving a police officer who
tried to enter his home without a warrant after his wife called 911 during
an argument. The man was shocked with a stun gun and arrested. His wife
told officers he hadn't hit her.
3-2 ruling brought Indiana law in line with most other states. But about
250 people attended a Statehouse rally against the decision, contending it
infringed on their constitutional rights and contradicted centuries of
common law precedent regarding homeowners' rights and the limits of police
Carnell, an Indiana State Police attorney, told the committee that
officers who are acting outside their authority already don't have the
protection of the law.
is that we will end up with people making split-second decisions — and law
enforcement officers and citizens getting killed or hurt badly," Carnell
committee removed a provision specifically allowing police entry while
investigating suspected domestic violence. Young proposed that change,
saying another provision allowed officers to enter a home if they saw that
someone was injured or believed a person was in danger.
The bill now
goes to the full Senate for consideration.