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The “get out of jail free after committing murder” bill

by The Big E on April 26, 2011 · 1 comment

Minnesota faces a huge budget deficit.  Republicans promised to fix this and create jobs at the same time.  They still haven’t created any jobs and their budget doesn’t balance.  

So what do they do instead?  Any kind of stew pud and insane thing they can think of.

Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder) has introduced a particularly idiotic provision into a fairly bland law enforcement bill (HR1467).  His provision sound like the tinfoil hat lobby helped him write the bill:

… law on use of force in defense of home and person clarified, Minnesota’s self-defense and defense of home laws codified and extended, common law duty to retreat in cases of self defense outside the home eliminated, boundaries of dwelling expanded for purposes of self-defense, presumption created in case of a person entering a dwelling or occupied vehicle by stealth or force, available rights extended to a person in that person’s dwelling to a person defending against entry of that person’s occupied vehicle…

Just for giggles, put on your tinfoil hat (make one if you have to) and re-read that.  “Duty to retreat eliminated.”  If someone walking up to your car who looks threatening, feel free to shoot him.  

Just what MN needs … no, not jobs or a balanced budget that doesn’t unfairly target elderly, poor, kids and the mentally ill … paranoid people carrying guns allowed to shoot under virtually any circumstance in which they feel threatened.

Over at Cucking Stool, Spotty has a very thorough analysis:

The bill says that if some one even claims self defense, they are immune from arrest — which might include even detention at the place of an incident of the use of deadly force — until an arresting officer weighs all of the circumstances. The would be hard to gainsay the absurdity of subdivision five and the complete impracticality of its application. It makes the police into arraignment judges. I cannot believe that even Tony Cornish thinks this is a good idea; he’s a small town cop, remember?

The bill also immunizes the vigilante from civil liability — to anybody, including bystanders waiting at the bus stop or walking down the street. The police don’t even have that.

But subdivision six contains the most monumental change in the criminal law. Under current law, in both federal and state courts in Minnesota, a defendant has the burden of establishing self defense. Once the acts are established beyond a reasonable doubt, i.e., the weapon was used by the defendant, the defendant must show that the killing or wounding was justified. The proposed statute flips that burden around, placing it on the prosecution.

The practical effect is that if a defendant says “I felt threatened,” it is the prosecutor’s burden to show that the defendant was not “reasonably” threatened.

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