Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm has filed legislation to ensure Oklahomans who use self-defense won’t have to face trial for political reasons. Under Senate Bill 1120, victims of malicious prosecution would be able to receive compensation for expenses and damages.
Kyle Rittenhouse was recently acquitted of all charges in the deaths of two men and the wounding of a third during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020. Rittenhouse had claimed self-defense in the shootings.
“Kyle Rittenhouse should never have been charged. The video evidence from early on showed it was lawful self-defense,” Dahm said. “It is our duty to protect the rights of the people we represent, and the right to self-defense is paramount. This bill will ensure that what happened to Kyle Rittenhouse cannot happen to the people of Oklahoma.”
Under Dahm’s legislation, if a person is charged with murder but is found not guilty due to justifiable homicide, the state would have to reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of wages, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in their defense. When a homicide is determined to be justified and the accused establishes that they had sustained injury due to malicious prosecution, then that person will be awarded “fair and just compensation.”
SB 1120 further states that in order to support a claim of malicious prosecution, the claimant must establish that the prosecution was instituted or instigated by the prosecutor and was without probable cause; that the prosecution had legally and finally been terminated in favor of the claimant; and that as a result of the criminal prosecution, the claimant sustained injury.
Malice may be established if the motive for the prosecution was something other than a desire to bring an offender to justice, or that it was one with ill will or hatred, or willfully done in a wanton or oppressive manner and in conscious disregard of the claimant’s rights. Under the legislation, a prosecutor may be held personally liable to a claimant if malicious prosecution is established.
Americans for Limited Government President Richard Manning applauded Dahm’s efforts. “This is exactly why Justice Louis Brandeis called our state’s ‘laboratories of democracy,” Manning said. “If this measure passes and proves successful in protecting an individual’s right to self-defense in Oklahoma, it ought to be adopted in every state of the union, and at the federal level.”
Immediately following the Rittenhouse acquittal, Manning issued a statement in support of the verdict.
“Justice was served in the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, breathing new life into the presumption of innocence and upholding the fundamental principle of the right to self defense,” Manning said. “The jury, which has been subject to death threats and intimidation, has proven they were willing to put that aside to uphold the American system of justice and the presumption of innocence. It is our prayer that they are left alone and able to return to their regular lives as unsung, anonymous heroes defending liberty and the justice system that is essential for the rule of law to prevail.
“The irresponsible major media companies and the President of the United States that each tried and convicted Rittenhouse based upon deliberate misinformation and libel should be held accountable by Mr. Rittenhouse using our nation’s tort system. Let justice be done.”
Rittenhouse, who is now 18, lives in Antioch, a northern suburb of Chicago about 15 miles from Kenosha. On August 25 of last year when he was 17, Rittenhouse decided to patrol the downtown Kenosha area alongside other armed men in order to protect a used car dealership from looting and vandalism. The city had devolved into rioting over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white Kenosha police officer.
Rittenhouse took a medical kit and armed himself with a Smith & Wesson M&P15, which is an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle that police say his friend illegally bought for him.
While guarding the used car dealership, he was chased by protesters and ended up fatally shooting two people, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and injuring a third, Gaige Grosskreutz. The defendant and the three men he shot are all white.
He was arrested and charged with five felony charges and one misdemeanor charge. The most serious charge was intentional homicide, Wisconsin’s top murder charge, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The others were reckless homicide, attempted homicide, two counts of reckless endangerment, and being a minor illegally in possession of a firearm.
The judge dismissed the misdemeanor firearm charge, which was considered the easiest charge for the state to prove. Previously, Rittenhouse was also charged with violating curfew, but that charge was dismissed by the judge as well.
Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.
Cross-posted with The Daily Torch
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