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Wayne Schlaht
Wayne Schlaht
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Is Ohio home-intruder law a good idea?

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On April 16, 2008, Ohio’s Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 184 which presumes that a home’s resident acted in self-defense if he or shes uses force against someone who unlawfully enters his or her home.  This bill would also prohibits anyone from suing civilly if they are injured while committing a crime.  The bill is on its way to the Ohio house before it becomes law.

This law essentially reiterates the long standing common law rule that people may use lethal means to defend their homes from intruders.  While this new law may sound appealing, Ohio prosecutors have questioned the wisdom behind it.

The executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, John Murphy, has expressed concerns about the law.  He does not see the need to enact this new statute when the current common law that has been in effect for years has been enforced without problems.  He is concerned that this new law will permit home owners who commit crimes against visitors to escape prosecution as it may be difficult to distinguish genuine self-defenders from the not so genuine. 

While this legislation will certainly please gun lobbyist, like the NRA who pushed for its passage, it is certainly questionable whether changing long standing Ohio law that has operated without problem is really a wise idea.   

For more information on this new legislation visit http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/04/17/CASTLE.ART_ART_04-17-08_B1_689V0Q2.html?sid=101

http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/120842111861840.xml&coll=2

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