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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

 7:23 PM 

Assembly passes "castle doctrine" bill

The Assembly has passed a bill that establishes the so-called “castle doctrine,” which would allow property and business owners to defend that property from an intruder using lethal force without criminal and civil immunity. The bill passed 71-24. Reps. Hebl and Ziegelbauer were paired.

An amended version of the bill includes in the definition of property places of business, residential property and vehicles.

The bill also states that a judge or jury may not consider whether the owner had the opportunity to flee from those gaining entry. The immunity would not apply if the person was engaged in a criminal activity or uses force on a police officer.

Democrats claimed that the amended version of the bill extended the state’s current self-defense statutes in a way that, in the words of Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, “makes it easier for us to kill each other” and was another example of Republicans lack of focus on jobs.

“[This amendment] extends this now to include your driveway, your front lawn, your patio, your swimming pool and expands this way beyond what was contemplated in past versions of this bill.I am deeply troubled with the whole trend,” Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee, “I’m troubled by the fact that in this jobs session today, we’re not dealing with jobs.”
Democrats introduced an amendment that would have taken automobiles out of the bill. It was defeated.

Republicans put forward an amendment that would make clear the bill would not cancel out other state statutes relating to self-defense. Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder said he could not point to an example of when this might happen.

“This is to make absolutely, 100 percent sure, that those other statutes are not negated by what we’re doing here,” Suder said.

The bill has been messaged to the Senate.


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