Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WA Legislative Alert

HB2067 is being heard in the House Ways and Means Committee tomorrow, April 13, at 3 PM.

Current WA State Law allows citizens who are found to have legitimately acted in self-defense to be compensated by the state for legal fees in event of civil or criminal legal action.

HB2067, seeking to "save the state money", would remove any such protections or compensation.

More to follow.
The NRA-ILA Alert on the matter:
Monday, April 11, 2011
House Bill 2067, introduced by state Representative Ross Hunter (D-48), would repeal the existing Washington law that provides for the reimbursement of legal defense costs to law-abiding citizens who are charged with a crime but found not guilty by reason of self-defense.  Here is actual language from the law that is proposed to be repealed:  “No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family…  When a person charged with a crime…is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs…”
Dave Workman:
A bill that would strip Washington citizens of a unique self-defense protection is being fast-tracked by its sponsor, anti-gun State Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48th District), who unveiled the measure on Saturday and has it scheduled for a hearing before the House Ways & Means Committee – which he chairs – on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Olympia.
In email, Joe Waldron opines that
  1. The state is hurting for money.
  2. They're looking at any place they can save money.
  3. Washington is unique in the country with a law (RCW 9A.16.110) that actually protects citizens who choose to act ion {sic} self defense (not just with guns, but ANY self defense) by ensuring that if they so act (which also affords protection to society overall by discouraging attacks/assaults) that they will not be bankrupted (a common occurrence when one chooses to protect him or her self). The jury (or judge) has to specifically make a finding of legitimate self defense.
  4. No one can tell me how often it is invoked, or what the overall cost to the state is. I suspect it's not that high. The real intent is to discourage malicious prosecution by a head-hunting prosecutor. The state has deep pockets and can go into court as many times as it likes; the typical citizen is hard pressed to cover the costs of defense for a single trial.
  5. Enter anti-gun Ross Hunter, who sees a double benefit here: save the state some money, and discourage the right of self defense.
Time to get in touch with your legislators and tell them the state doesn't need to solve its budget problems on the back of law abiding citizens.
UPDATE: Joe says that HB2067 has been removed from the agenda!

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