Wednesday, February 01, 2006
On this day:

Forcing a compromise

The deadly force bill is on hold for now, as legislators attempt to reach a compromise in order to address concerns raised by members of the House black caucus. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Albert Hall (D-Gurley) explained that the House didn't call for cloture (a vote to end debate) on the bill because "we hated to do it that early in the session."

The Birmingham News (see first link above) has a pretty good description of what the bill would do:
Under current law, a person in most cases is not allowed to use deadly force if he or she knows it could be avoided by retreating, unless he or she is in his or her own home or workplace and was not the original aggressor.

The proposal debated Tuesday would let a person use deadly force if he or she reasonably believed another person was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or already had unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling or occupied vehicle. It says a person would have the right to stand his or her ground, rather than retreating, as long as he or she was doing nothing illegal and had the right to be where he or she was. ...

Under the bill, a dwelling would include a tent or porch. A vehicle would include any conveyance, motorized or not, designed to move a person or property.

The bill also would let a person use deadly force if he or she reasonably believed another person was attempting to remove, or had forcefully removed, someone from a dwelling or vehicle where that person had a legal right to be.

There would be some exceptions. For instance, a person could not use deadly force against someone who was in a place he or she had a right to be if there were no restraining order against that person.

The bill would grant a person who used deadly force, as the bill allowed, immunity from criminal prosecution and lawsuits.

State law now says a person can use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes another person is:

Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.

Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while trying to commit a burglary.

Committing or about to commit a kidnapping, serious assault, burglary, robbery, forcible rape or forcible sodomy.