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Letís Make The Criminals Pay, Not You!

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on March 03, 2006:

Senator Dyson Home invasion is increasingly in the news and this should concern all law-abiding citizens. There are many things we can and will do to improve public safety so such crimes are less likely in the first place, but when a predator comes to our door, thereís no ducking the simple fact that we are ultimately responsible for our own personal protection.

Criminals invading our homes have the advantage. After all, they choose the time and place of an attack. What is shocking is that the criminal may have the advantage in court as well. Citizens possess the right to do whatever is necessary to protect their families in the home, but often they carry the heavy burden of proving their own innocence in court.

Suppose a criminal breaks into your home, and luckily you are able to use force to remove the intruder from your property. Although you prevented a potential tragedy for you and your family, the most painful part of the experience may be awaiting you in the courtroom. It is possible, and probable, that a lawyer would file suit on behalf of the intruder for injuries suffered at your hand. Whether you prevail in court or reach a settlement through your insurance, you and your family will reap the expensive consequences. It is an ordeal that many families cannot afford.

For this reason, I am sponsoring Senate Bill 688. This legislation would establish that a person who is trying to protect themselves or their family from home invasion can use deadly force without the fear of being held liable in civil court. Senate Bill 688 would protect you from civil liability in defense of their home and family.

Currently, civil liability is still a real threat to those wishing to protect their home, themselves and loved ones from people who would do them harm.

Believe it or not, Maryland is presently out of step with the rest of the country regarding this matter. For instance, California has a provision in its law that states: ďAny person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred. As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.Ē

Massachusetts has a similar provision already on the books. Maryland should too. This is a common sense, home protection legislation that should be passed.

Marylandís lawmakers need to stand up for homeownersís safety in this state. By passing this legislation, we are telling predators that they attack our citizens at their own peril. Criminals will no longer be able to finish in civil courts what they started in the home invasion. We all want to stop crime in the first place, but when it happens, we must make sure the criminal pays -- not you!

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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