Indiana HB 1284 - Self Defense


LEAP Forward Position:  Oppose

LEAP Forward Position: Oppose

Self-defense and the defense of others. Provides immunity for a justified use of force in certain instances. Requires a court to award, in certain instances, reasonable attorney's fees and costs to a defendant when the justified use of force immunity is successfully raised. Makes conforming amendments.


“Sec. 1. (a) As used in this section, “forcible felony” means:

(1) any offense described under IC 35-31.5-2-138; (2) residential entry (as defined under IC 35-43-2-1.5); or (3) burglary (as defined under IC 35-43-2-1). (b) The justified use of force described under IC 35-41-3-2 provides a complete immunity against any claimor actioninitiated by a person: (1) who alleges to have been injured or damaged by any such use of force; and (2) whose conduct justified the use of force. (c) In no case shall any use of force justified under IC 35-41-3-2 give rise to any claim or action for damages or compensation against a person, employer, or estate of a person using such force by or on behalf of any person who: (1) was attempting to commit or committing a forcible felony at the time such force was used; or (2) was attempting to causeor causing unlawful serious bodily
injury to any other person at the time such force was used. This prohibition shall apply to any claim or action brought by the estate, personal representative, spouse, or family member of a person described in subdivision (1) or (2).

(d) If a defendant files a motion under Trial Rule 56 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure and supports that motion with admissible evidence that establishes a prima facie basis for the application of the immunity described in subsection (b) or (c), the burden shall shift to the plaintiff to oppose the motion with admissible evidence directly contradicting the application of the immunity in order to establish a genuine issue of material fact for trial. (e) In a civil case in which an immunity defense under subsection (b) or (c) is raised, the fact that a defendant was not prosecuted for a crime related to the defendant’s use of force shall create a rebuttable presumption that the defendant’s use of force was justified under IC35-41-3-2 and the jury shall be instructed on this presumption if the case proceeds to trial. In a summary judgment proceeding described in subsection (d), the fact that a defendant was not prosecuted for a crime related to the defendant’s use of force shall also create a prima facie basis for the application of the immunity described in subsection (b) or (c). (f) In any action commenced after June 30, 2019, in which the defense described in subsection (c) is raised by a defendant, at the conclusion of the action the court shall award to the defendant or defendants, as applicable, any reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in defending the action if a defendant successfully moves for summary judgment on the basis of the defense set forth in subsection (c) or the trier of fact determines that the action was prohibited by subsection (c).”.