Bill To Close Prison Defense Loophole Awaits Governor's Pen
DENVER (AP) — A loophole in Colorado law that allows inmates to use deadly force to defend their prison cells is close to being closed.
The state Senate voted 35-0 Monday to amend Colorado's so-called "Make My Day" law, which allows deadly force against threatening intruders.
The 1985 law has been used at least twice to waive murder charges against Colorado inmates accused of killing fellow inmates who entered their cells.
Most states have some variation of a self-defense law for either homes or businesses. The Colorado prison cases were believed to be a national first.
Inmates Antero Alaniz and Aaron Bernal were charged with murder in the 2011 death of inmate Cleveland Flood. Flood was stabbed 90 times in the Sterling Correctional Facility shortly after he entered Bernal and Alaniz's unlocked cell.
Alaniz and Bernal invoked the "Make My Day" law, saying their cell qualified as a domicile and that Flood carried a shank and threatened them. Separate judges agreed, dismissing murder charges.
Lawmakers from both parties have said the "Make My Day" law wasn't intended to allow for prison defense. It has passed both chambers with little debate.
The bill now awaits the pen of Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is likely to sign it into law.
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