The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday reaffirmed its earlier ruling in a controversial case involving unlawful police entry.
The court granted a rehearing, then supplied a five-page opinion on its May 12 opinion that declared that Hoosiers no longer had a legal right to resist police officers who enter their home without a legal basis to do so.
The court reconsidered the case after an outcry from 71 state lawmakers, the attorney general and public opinion regarding the case of Richard Barnes in Vanderburgh County.
In that case, Barnes yelled at police and blocked them from entering his apartment to investigate a domestic disturbance. The man shoved a police officer who entered anyway and was shocked with a stun gun and arrested.
Barnes argued on the basis of common law that he had the right to protect his property, legally termed as his "castle," from what he considered unlawful entry.
"We hold that the Castle Doctrine is not a defense to the crime of battery or other violent acts on a police officer," the court opinion read.
The Supreme Court said that its ruling was based on Indiana law and that legislators can consider changing the law if they don't feel the ruling was appropriate.
"The ruling is statutory and not constitutional," the court said in its five-page ruling. "The General Assembly can and does create statutory defenses to the offenses it criminalizes, and the crime of battery against a police officer stands on no different ground. What the statutory defenses should be, if any, is in its hands."
Majority Republicans in the Legislature said they will press ahead with plans to change the law and give homeowners more specific rights.
"Part of the decision today saying that you can resist, but not forcefully resist, I'm not sure what that means to someone who's protecting themselves or their home," said Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis. "So citizens are still, I guess, wondering whether or not they have a right to protect themselves."
Others said they don't think the ruling justifies a change in law.
"I think we cannot be encouraging people to decide for themselves, 'This officer is in my house illegally and I'm gonna hit him.' So I have no problem with the decision," said Rep. Edward DeLaney, D-Indianapolis. "We cannot encourage people to hit police officers, and we doubly can't encourage them to do that in domestic violence situations. That's the highest risk for a police officer, when he goes into a situation with domestic violence."
"I can see where a lot of people would be upset about that, but, at the same time, if people have nothing to hide, if they're not doing anything wrong in the first place, there shouldn't be that big of a worry," said Clint Evrard of Indianapolis.
A legislative study committee is set to take up the issue during a meeting next month.
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