For immediate release: Sep 20, 2011
Posted by: [Attorney General]
Contact: Bryan Corbin
Phone: (317) 233-3970

Attorney General's statement on ruling in Barnes case

Zoeller: Fourth Amendment intact, misdemeanor convictions upheld

INDIANAPOLIS - Today the Indiana Supreme Court issued a new ruling in the case of Richard L. Barnes v. State. The Court today granted a rehearing of its May 12 ruling in the case and then simultaneously ruled on that rehearing -- affirming the defendant's convictions for battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. The Indiana Attorney General's Office on June 27 filed a brief supporting a petition for rehearing, arguing the Court should rule more narrowly than it did May 12 while affirming Barnes' convictions. Today Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued this statement:

"The Indiana Supreme Court's ruling today means that individuals still have the common law right of reasonable resistance to an unlawful entry, though there is never justification for committing battery against a police officer. In volatile domestic violence situations, police have the right to enter a home to ensure safety of others, but today's ruling also means the individual has the right to stand against his locked door to protect his home and communicate with police outside without a physical altercation. While the Legislature considers whether to revise the existing statute, we respect the Indiana Supreme Court's ruling, which underscores that the individual's constitutional right remains in force," Zoeller said.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office represents the prosecution on appeal. After the Indiana Supreme Court's 3-2 ruling on May 12, Barnes filed a petition for rehearing and the Attorney General supported a rehearing, but for different reasons than the defense. The Supreme Court today granted a rehearing, and then ruled based upon the pleadings already filed, without additional oral argument. The 4-1 ruling today means Barnes' misdemeanor convictions aren't overturned.

NOTE: The Indiana Supreme Court's ruling today in the Barnes v. State case is at this link:


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