“Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes,” nwitimes.com reports. “In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer’s entry . . . The court’s decision stems from a Vanderburgh County case in which police were called to investigate a husband and wife arguing outside their apartment . . .
When the couple went back inside their apartment, the husband told police they were not needed and blocked the doorway so they could not enter. When an officer entered anyway, the husband shoved the officer against a wall. A second officer then used a stun gun on the husband and arrested him.”
At the risk of re-igniting the aforementioned gun loon thing, the ruling means an Indiana citizen can’t protect his or her home against agents of the government by force of arms. At all. Ever. Not that you would . . .
Our man Ralph has a different take (of course):
This is the trend in all states. Many states have removed the common-law citizen’s right to resist unlawful entry by the police. Most have done so by statute, which I believe is the only permissible manner. Representatives are elected to pass laws, courts are not.
Here is the issue that the courts never address, but absolutely must enter into the judges’ thinking: how does anyone know whether the entry is lawful or unlawful without a court hearing or a trial, civil or criminal? A police officer may be within his rights to make entry, or may have exceeded his authority, depending on some very iffy circumstances and tight twists in the law.
In my opinion, in this very case a strong argument could and will be made (in the event of civil litigation) that the officer’s entry was lawful, based on reasonable fear of domestic battery in progress.
Here’s the deal: if presented with an unlawful entry or arrest situation, the citizen should make clear that he or she denies permission to enter but will offer no resistance. There will be time later to hire a good lawyer and sue their fucking eyeballs out. Which to me is better than getting tasered.
Our own Chris Dumm is also a lawyer (in the great state of Washington). And a man of few words. Well, this time:
Many states (like mine) preserve the common-law privilege to resist unlawful police actions, as long as the force used does not rise to the level of an assault. I don’t have time to do a federal or state survey, but it seems that this privilege is only a judicial tradition and is not codified into written statute. What judges decide, they can change their minds about.
Once again I haven’t researched this, but I’m not aware of any jurisdiction that allows knowingly using deadly force against police to resist an unlawful arrest or search. This ruling shows the wussification of Indiana (Connecticut went down this castrated road years ago) but has little impact on 2A issues.