Utah bill passes, person defending home protected from lawsuits

Posted at 11:27 AM, Mar 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-05 20:12:00-05

A bill that will soon become law will protect people who use force against home invaders from lawsuit if they injure the intruder.

Both the House and Senate passed House Bill 129 unanimously.  The bill would require intruders to show their actions did not constitute a crime.

As the law stands now, a homeowner can be held liable if an intruder can prove they didn't plan to commit a felony when coming into their house.

Lawmakers pointed to a home invasion that happened last week in Springville, where a homeowner shot and killed a stranger who broke into his home.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Utah County, said people just react in those situations, they don't investigate.

Rep. Patrick Painter, R-Nephi, who sponsored the bill in the House, said homeowners shouldn't be victimized twice.

"This is an amendment that I asked for, that I asked the Senate to put in, what it does is put an effective date immediately upon the governor's signature on this," said Rep. Painter.  "I think it's appropriate."

The amendment to immediately implement the bill passed the house 73 to zero.

The bill now goes to Gov. Herbert for his signature.