SB184: Castle Doctrine bill amended in 5th Senate Hearing
By Linda Walker
On Wednesday, April 9, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Criminal Justice held a 5th hearing for Senate Bill 184, the Castle Doctrine bill.
Amendments to the bill were adopted via a Substitute Bill, which can be downloaded via a link below.
Sub SB184 offers a revised and more descript language to Castle Doctrine compared to the language originally introduced. The bill spells out that the criminal must be engaged in a felony act against a victim at the time a victim defends themselves. Examples included rape, murder, kidnapping and felonious assault, among a few other violent acts.
The bill will also extend the "no duty to retreat" language to the victim's vehicle.
Castle Doctrine will shift the burden of proof to the prosecutor instead of the victim in proving whether it was clearly an act of self defense.
Chairman Grendell called a vote for the acceptance of the sub bill, and it was unanimously accepted by all Senators present at the time. The chairman advised that anyone wishing to offer further amendments to Sub SB184 must do so by Tuesday morning, April 15.
The Ohio Prosecuting Attorney's Association's John Murphy once again testified as an opponent to SB184. He stated "this clearly weakens the law with clear consequences", and stated that he "fears how the courts will react".
Mr. Murphy then attempted to set up as many straw men as he could, proposing hypothetical scenarios involving drug dealers, domestic violence incidents and invited guests. Chairman Grendell, Senators Seitz and Mason bantered back and forth with Murphy. At one point Chairman Grendell chided Mr. Murphy that with regard to drug dealers, "if they are in the commission of doing an illegal act", the case will still be considered a criminal case. But, drug dealers have the same rights to self defense if someone breaks into their house in the middle of the night while they are sleeping."
The Ohio Chiefs of Police Association's John Gilchrist once again offered opponent testimony. At one point he complained to committee members that "this sub bill is more objectionable than the original bill." Chairman Grendell responded, saying "so you're saying you have no objection to the original?" Gilcrhrist quickly back peddled.
Mr. Oscar Sheppard gave proponent testimony on behalf of himself.
Thank you for responding to our call to use our Write to Legislators website feature to contact your legislators. Please encourage your friends and family who support the Constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense to do the same.
To download Substitute Senate Bill 184, click here.