It is a complete defense to any lawsuit for damages for personal injury or wrongful death that the person injured or killed was engaged in the commission of a felony which was a proximate cause of the injury or death. However, this defense does not affect the right to bring a lawsuit under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1983.
In actions arising out of law enforcement activities resulting in personal injury or death, it is a complete defense to the action that the finder of fact has determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the person injured or killed was engaged in the commission of a felony at the time of the occurrence causing the injury or death, the commission of which was a proximate cause of the injury or death. However, this defense does not affect the right to bring a lawsuit under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1983.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: The defense has been asserted more frequently in recent years by government entities, police shootings. The civil remedy should be available, it is about a person who is injured and should have a civil claim which is one way to provide justice. Courts are summarily dismissing these cases and not allowing these cases to get to trial to determine the facts. This bill is consistent with our close states Oregon and California.
The mere accusation of a felony should not deprive someone of their right to safety and not be killed. The current law deprives the public of trust in the justice system and makes it harder to hold law enforcement accountable. Courts have noted the need for reform.
CON: Anyone can be sued by an individual who was injured during the commission of a felony. You would be liable unless the person was convicted and that does not seem fair because the standard for convicting an individual is much more difficult to prove than the standard for civil liability. Many crimes are never prosecuted leaving many people liable for their injuries sustained by their attackers. This bill allows people to profit from felonious conduct where a conviction is not obtained. Dead people can not be prosecuted so when a person is killed in self defense the attacker's estate would be able to sue and the defense would not be available for the defender.