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Legislation On Hoosier's Right To Resist Illegal Entery Passes Senate

Last updated on Wednesday, January 25, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana Senate Monday approved legislation that reaffirms Hoosiers’ right to resist illegal entry by law enforcement officers into their homes.

Senate Bill 1, authored by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, passed the Senate by a vote of 45-5 and moves to the House.

According to Steele's office, SB 1 permits a homeowner to use reasonable force to resist a police officer's unlawful entry into a dwelling if that homeowner does not know if the person is an officer or if the officer is not engaged in official duty. The legislation notes that, even then, violent force should not be used to prevent the unlawful entry unless there is no other adequate alternative.

"This legislation is an honest attempt to balance private property rights with police safety," Steele said in a prepared statement. "A man's house is his castle, and I understand the importance of protecting that idea. At the same time, we don't want to put police, who already put their lives on the line every day, in more danger than they already are in, especially if they're just trying to help someone. I look forward to working with my House colleagues to move this bill forward."

Steele's legislation does not allow homeowners to resist if police officers enter in cases of:

* 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;
* Possession of a warrant.

The bill is an effort to address Hoosier concerns generated from the Indiana Supreme Court case known as Barnes v. State. In that case, a man questioned about a domestic violence call scuffled with a police officer who tried to enter his house without a warrant and against his will.

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