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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Knock, knock

A state Senate committee has approved a bill to back away from the Indiana Supreme Court's assertion that Hoosiers have no right ever to resist unlawful police entry, and they seem to be on the right track. An amendment was offered to take out a line giving officers the right to enter "if there is suspected domestic or family violence" because the language was so broad that it could always be used to justify entry. A line left in allows for entry when there is a "reasonable belief" that someone in the dwelling "has been or is" at risk of physical harm, which is a brighter line. If the court had just made it clear that "exigent circumstances" could justify police entry without a warrant, there wouldn't have been all this fuss.

Police aren't crazy about the bill:

"Our concerns are that this bill as written, it will invite individuals to make split-second decisions on the legality of police action," said Lt. Mark Carnell of the Indiana State Police. "These are issues that are decided by judges, juries and attorneys."

Carnell said the state police do not want to see residents or officers being injured or killed because of heat-of-the-moment decisions.

I think if the cops show up at your front door in the middle of the night, the decisions made by everyone will be split-second. This bill won't change that; it just tilts things back toward the citizen a little bit.