The Indiana State Supreme Court made a ridiculous ruling last year in Barnes v. State (May 12, 2011). That decision said that Indiana state residents had no right to obstruct illegal police invasions of their homes.
Folks who actually comprehend the Rights and Freedoms declared in the Magna Carta were up in arms (pun intended) over the ruling that essentially overturned centuries of common law legal precedent. It was absurd to declare that agents of the state can invade someone’s home for any reason or even no reason at all, and a citizen has no right to defend against it.
“We believe … a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” Justice Steven David said.
“We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest.”
That is called a Police State, and unfortunately the Indiana Supreme Court saw absolutely nothing wrong with declaring that Indiana was indeed a Police State.
If the police don’t want to face “unnecessary resistance” when invading someone’s home, there is a very simple solution: Don’t do it. Don’t invade someone’s home illegally. Then you won’t have to worry about unnecessary resistance.
Home invasions deserve, indeed demand that they be repelled by all available force. It matters not if the home invader has a badge to go along with his gun when his actions are illegal.
To quote William Grigg,
“When a cop invades a home without legal authority, he is acting as a criminal, rather than a peace officer.”
The facts of the Barnes case are quite straight-forward:
As summarized by a legislative report last November, the incident that gave rise to the Barnes ruling occurred four years earlier, when police were summoned to the home of Richard Barnes and his wife by a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance.
Barnes was in the parking lot arguing with his girlfriend when the police arrived. She had already thrown a duffel bag of his belongings outside the apartment, and told him to “take the rest of his stuff.” As Barnes re-entered the apartment to do so, the police attempted to follow him inside. Barnes quite properly told the police to stay out, and enforced that lawful order by shoving a police officer who disobeyed.
Barnes was charged with Battery on a Police Officer, Resisting Law Enforcement, Disorderly Conduct, and Interfering with the Reporting of a Crime.
If there is one word a police officer doesn’t like to hear, it’s “No.”
Mr. Barnes was well within his rights to tell police they were not welcome inside his apartment. If they wanted to search his residence, they needed to get a warrant. No doubt the “exigent circumstances” clause was invoked to justify their illegal actions, even though such circumstances did not exist.
To quote William Pitt, Earl of Chatham,
The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England cannot enter – all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!
Sadly the majority of the Indiana Supreme Court could not comprehend that simple statement.
Thankfully that is not the end of this story.
Indiana legislators have introduced Indiana Senate Bill 0001 which specifically allows for a homeowner to defend themselves against the illegal entry by police officers, thereby reclaiming Castle Doctrine for Indiana State residents.
“Our laws, our statutes, our Constitution, and the value of our country [were built] on one premise, and that was to defend our citizens against the government –not defend our government against our citizens,” noted State Senator Mike Young of Indianapolis, author of SB 1. “The [Barnes] ruling was a ruling that defended the government against the citizens.”
Rep. Jud McMillin of Dearborn, who wrote the house version of the bill, added:
“The distinction here is not between police officers and citizens. The distinction to be made here is between what is lawful and what is unlawful. In a society where we value our freedoms, we cannot have a bright-line test that tells people when they cannot exercise their freedoms.”
It’s so gratifying to hear politicians that actually comprehend what a Right is, and why it must be defended.
Indiana Senate Bill 0001 states, in part:
Provides that a person is justified in using reasonable force against a public servant if the person reasonably believes the force is necessary to:
(1) protect the person or a third person from unlawful force;
(2) prevent or terminate the public servant’s unlawful entry into the person’s dwelling; or
(3) prevent or terminate the public servant’s criminal interference with property lawfully in the person’s possession. .
Naturally “the sky is falling” crowd freaked out and immediately claimed that police officers would be shot on sight. Representative Linda Lawson went so far as to say it would be “open season on law enforcement” if SB0001 passes.
The over-reaction of folks like Rep. Lawson is, as always, comical, and would be downright hilarious if they weren’t so wrapped up in their own hysteria while denying our fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
The reality of this bill is quite simple. Citizens have Rights. When police violate those rights, there may be consequences more dire than they may have wanted.
The solution is, as I said earlier, incredibly simple.
Stop violating people’s rights.
If you do not have the legal right to enter someone’s home, then DON’T ENTER! It really is very simple. It will probably require a lot of retraining on the part of some police though, since violating citizens’ rights has become a way of life in some police forces.
That being said, if they don’t violate a citizen’s rights, law enforcement will have absolutely no problem, even after SB0001 passes.
I really don’t understand why this is so hard for some people to grasp.
The standard response from the “we want to violate your Rights” crowd is that “you can go to court” or file a lawsuit after the fact.
That’s the whole point here though, isn’t it?
Why should a citizen have to fight for their rights AFTER the fact? They shouldn’t, and that’s why Indiana SB0001 must pass. It places the burden solidly where it belongs, on police to act within the law, not on the citizen to seek remedy for their violated rights at some distant point in the future.
Or, as Rep. Jud McMillin said so eloquently,
“The distinction here is not between police officers and citizens. The distinction to be made here is between what is lawful and what is unlawful.“
So very, very simple…