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In Indiana, 'Castle Doctrine' Now Includes Right to Shoot Law Enforcement

I've talked about the "castle doctrine" here before (aka the "Make My Day Law" or, more negatively, the "Shoot The Milkman Law"). Under this legal doctrine that is recognized in many states, if you are in your home and an intruder unlawfully tries to enter to attack you, you can use deadly force to defend yourself while in the sanctity of your "castle." As I discussed here, in some states the castle doctrine has been extended to cases where the threatened person was not in his home but in his car.

Most recently, the state of Indiana has taken the castle doctrine even one step further, becoming the first state to specifically permit its residents to use deadly force in response to the "unlawful intrusion by another individual or a public servant." The "public servant" part of the law is what has Indiana police upset. Bloomberg reports that Tim Downs, president of the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, which opposed the legislation, believes the law is "a recipe for disaster." "It just puts a bounty on our heads," he said, and may lead intoxicated or emotional people to wrongly assume they have the right to attack officers. Other police fear that routine stops of vehicles may turn deadly for police because someone who is pulled over may decide to open fire on police and then claim that the officer was trying to illegally enter their property. 

The author of the law, Republican state Senator R. Michael Young, said that the statute is a response to a 2011 Indiana Supreme Court ruling last year that held "there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers." Under this ruling, Young argues, a homeowner could hypothetically discover an officer raping his daughter or wife, and have no right to use force to stop the attack. The National Rifle Association was a key proponent of Young's statute.

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 12, 2012 at 04:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (26)

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