House File 92 - Introduced HOUSE FILE 92 BY HEARTSILL , HOLT , GUSTAFSON , WILLS , BAUDLER , SALMON , GASSMAN , FISHER , MOMMSEN , WINDSCHITL , SHEETS , BAXTER , BEST , KOOIKER , WATTS , R. TAYLOR , and LANDON A BILL FOR An Act relating to the justifiable use of reasonable force and 1 providing a remedy. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 1342YH (5) 86 jm/rj
H.F. 92 Section 1. Section 704.1, Code 2015, is amended to read as 1 follows: 2 704.1 Reasonable force. 3 1. “Reasonable force” is means that force and no more which 4 a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to 5 be necessary to prevent an injury or loss and can include 6 deadly force if it is reasonable to believe that such force is 7 necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or 8 the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe 9 that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat. 10 2. Reasonable force, including deadly force, may be used 11 even if an alternative course of action is available if the 12 alternative entails a risk to life or safety, or the life or 13 safety of a third party , or requires one to abandon or retreat 14 from one’s dwelling or place of business or employment . 15 3. A person may be wrong in the estimation of the danger or 16 the force necessary to repel the danger as long as there is a 17 reasonable basis for the belief of the person and the person 18 acts reasonably in the response to that belief. 19 4. A person who is not engaged in illegal activity has no 20 duty to retreat from any place where the person is lawfully 21 present before using force as specified in this chapter. 22 A finder of fact shall not be permitted to consider the 23 possibility of retreat as a factor in determining whether or 24 not a person who used force reasonably believed that the force 25 was necessary to prevent injury, loss, or risk to life or 26 safety. 27 Sec. 2. Section 704.2, Code 2015, is amended by adding the 28 following new subsection: 29 NEW SUBSECTION . 1A. A threat to cause serious injury 30 or death, by the production, display, or brandishing of a 31 deadly weapon, is not deadly force, as long as the actions of 32 the person are limited to creating an expectation that the 33 person may use deadly force to defend oneself, another, or as 34 otherwise authorized by law. 35 -1- LSB 1342YH (5) 86 jm/rj 1/ 6
H.F. 92 Sec. 3. NEW SECTION . 704.2A Justifiable use of deadly 1 force. 2 1. For purposes of this chapter, a person is presumed to 3 reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to avoid 4 injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of 5 another in either of the following circumstances: 6 a. The person against whom force is used, at the time the 7 force is used, is doing any of the following: 8 (1) Unlawfully entering by force or stealth, or has 9 unlawfully entered by force or stealth and remains within the 10 dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle 11 of the person using force. 12 (2) Unlawfully removing or is attempting to unlawfully 13 remove another person against the other person’s will from the 14 dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle 15 of the person using force. 16 b. The person using force knows or has reason to believe 17 that any of the conditions set forth in paragraph “a” are 18 occurring or have occurred. 19 2. The presumption set forth in subsection 1 does not 20 apply if, at the time force is used, any of the following 21 circumstances are present: 22 a. The person using defensive force is engaged in a 23 criminal offense, is attempting to escape from the scene of a 24 criminal offense that the person has committed, or is using the 25 dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle 26 to further a criminal offense. 27 b. The person sought to be removed is a child or grandchild 28 or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful 29 guardianship of the person against whom force is used. 30 c. The person against whom force is used is a peace officer 31 who has entered or is attempting to enter a dwelling, place 32 of business or employment, or occupied vehicle in the lawful 33 performance of the peace officer’s official duties, and the 34 person using force knows or reasonably should know that the 35 -2- LSB 1342YH (5) 86 jm/rj 2/ 6
H.F. 92 person who has entered or is attempting to enter is a peace 1 officer. 2 d. The person against whom the force is used has the right 3 to be in, or is a lawful resident of, the dwelling, place of 4 business or employment, or occupied vehicle of the person using 5 force, and a protective or no-contact order is not in effect 6 against the person against whom the force is used. 7 Sec. 4. Section 704.3, Code 2015, is amended to read as 8 follows: 9 704.3 Defense of self or another. 10 A person is justified in the use of reasonable force when 11 the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to 12 defend oneself or another from any actual or imminent use of 13 unlawful force. 14 Sec. 5. NEW SECTION . 704.4A Immunity for justifiable use of 15 force. 16 1. As used in this section, “criminal prosecution” means 17 arrest, detention, charging, or prosecution. 18 2. A person who uses reasonable force pursuant to this 19 chapter shall be immune from any criminal prosecution or civil 20 action for using such force. 21 3. A law enforcement agency may use standard investigating 22 procedures for investigating the use of force, but the law 23 enforcement agency shall not arrest a person for using force 24 unless the law enforcement agency determines there is probable 25 cause that the force was unlawful under this chapter. 26 4. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees, court 27 costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses 28 incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action 29 brought by the plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant 30 is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection 2. 31 Sec. 6. Section 704.7, Code 2015, is amended to read as 32 follows: 33 704.7 Resisting forcible violent felony. 34 1. As used in this section, “violent felony” means any 35 -3- LSB 1342YH (5) 86 jm/rj 3/ 6
H.F. 92 felonious sexual abuse involving compulsion or the use of a 1 weapon or any felonious assault, murder, kidnapping, robbery, 2 arson, or burglary. 3 2. A person who knows reasonably believes that a forcible 4 violent felony is being or will imminently be perpetrated is 5 justified in using , against the perpetrator, reasonable force, 6 including deadly force , against the perpetrator or perpetrators 7 to prevent the completion of or terminate the perpetration of 8 that felony. 9 Sec. 7. REPEAL. Section 707.6, Code 2015, is repealed. 10 EXPLANATION 11 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 12 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 13 Current law provides that a person may use reasonable force, 14 including deadly force, even if an alternative course of action 15 is available if the alternative entails a risk of life or 16 safety, or the life or safety of a third party, or requires one 17 to abandon or retreat from one’s residence or place of business 18 or employment. 19 This bill provides that a person may use reasonable force, 20 including deadly force, if it is reasonable to believe such 21 force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or 22 safety or the life or safety of another, even if an alternative 23 course of action is available if the alternative entails a risk 24 to life or safety, or the life or safety of a third party. 25 The bill provides that a person may be wrong in the 26 estimation of the danger or the force necessary to repel the 27 danger as long as there is a reasonable basis for the belief 28 and the person acts reasonably in the response to that belief. 29 The bill further provides that a person who is not engaged in 30 an illegal activity has no duty to retreat from any place where 31 the person is lawfully present before using force. The bill 32 prohibits a finder of fact from considering the possibility of 33 retreat as a factor in determining whether or not a person who 34 used force reasonably believed that the force was necessary to 35 -4- LSB 1342YH (5) 86 jm/rj 4/ 6
H.F. 92 prevent injury, loss, or risk to life or safety. 1 The bill provides that a threat to cause serious injury 2 or death by the production, display, or brandishing of a 3 deadly weapon, is not deadly force, as long as the actions of 4 the person are limited to creating an expectation that the 5 person may use deadly force to defend oneself, another, or as 6 otherwise authorized by law. 7 The bill creates presumptions for the justifiable use of 8 deadly force in certain circumstances. 9 Under the bill, a person is presumed to be justified in 10 using deadly force if the person reasonably believes that 11 deadly force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s 12 life or safety or the life or safety of another under the 13 following circumstances: the person against whom force is used 14 is unlawfully entering by force or stealth, or has unlawfully 15 entered by force or stealth and remains within a dwelling, 16 place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle of the 17 person using force; or the person against whom force is used 18 is unlawfully removing or attempting to remove another person 19 against the other person’s will from a dwelling, place of 20 business or employment, or occupied vehicle of the person using 21 force. In addition, the person using force must know or have 22 reason to believe that the aforementioned circumstances are 23 occurring or have occurred. 24 The presumption of the use of justifiable deadly force 25 under the bill does not apply at the time force is used in the 26 following circumstances: the person using defensive force is 27 engaged in a criminal offense or activity; the person sought 28 to be removed is a child or grandchild or is otherwise in the 29 lawful custody of the person against whom force is used; the 30 person against whom force is used is a peace officer who has 31 entered or is attempting to enter a dwelling, place of business 32 or employment, or occupied vehicle in the lawful performance 33 of the peace officer’s official duties, and the person using 34 force knows or reasonably should know that the person who has 35 -5- LSB 1342YH (5) 86 jm/rj 5/ 6
H.F. 92 entered or is attempting to enter is a peace officer; or the 1 person against whom force is used has the right to be in, or 2 is a lawful resident of, the dwelling, place of business or 3 employment, or occupied vehicle of the person using force, and 4 a protective or no-contact order is not in effect against the 5 person against whom the force is used. 6 The bill provides that a person is justified in the use of 7 reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such 8 force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any actual 9 as well as imminent use of unlawful force. 10 The bill repeals Code section 707.6 and consolidates 11 criminal and civil immunity provisions in new Code section 12 704.4A. Under the bill, a person who uses reasonable force 13 shall be immune from any criminal prosecution or civil action 14 for using such force. 15 Under the bill, a law enforcement agency shall not arrest a 16 person for using force unless it determines there is probable 17 cause that the force was unlawful under Code chapter 704. 18 The bill also provides that if a defendant is sued by a 19 plaintiff for using reasonable force, the court shall award the 20 defendant reasonable attorney fees, court costs, compensation 21 for loss of income, and expenses if the court finds the 22 defendant is immune from prosecution. 23 The bill also provides that a person who reasonably 24 believes that a violent felony is being or will imminently be 25 perpetrated is justified in using reasonable force, including 26 deadly force, against a perpetrator to prevent or terminate the 27 perpetration of that felony. The bill defines “violent felony” 28 to mean any felonious assault, murder, violent or forced sexual 29 abuse, kidnapping, robbery, arson, or burglary. 30 -6- LSB 1342YH (5) 86 jm/rj 6/ 6