DENVER (AP) — A prison cell may be your home, but that doesn't mean you can use deadly force to defend it, according to a Colorado bill that won approval in the state House Thursday.
The bill clarifies the state's so-called "Make My Day" law, which allows deadly force against threatening intruders.
The 1985 law has been used at least twice to exonerate 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.
In recent years the law has been invoked to throw out murder charges against two inmates accused of stabbing a fellow inmate to death in the Sterling Correctional Facility.
Inmates Antero Alaniz and Aaron Bernal were charged with murder in the 2011 death of inmate Cleveland Flood. Flood was stabbed 90 times shortly after he entered Bernal and Alaniz's unlocked cell, according to KUSA-TV (http://bit.ly/1WXDO52 ).
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, the station reported.
Rep. Tim Dore, sponsor of the bill, argued Thursday that the case violated the spirit of the 1985 self-defense law.
"It's being used for immunity inside the prison system," said Dore, R-Elizabeth.
The bill passed on a preliminary voice vote and faces one more House vote before heading to the Senate.
House Bill 1190: http://goo.gl/Tg4iFy