Proposition 114 protects victims
By Natasha Reeves
Shattered glass all over the floor, trinkets and picture frames are broken and some belongings are missing; this is a typical scene after a house robbery, and to top it off, the criminal sues the family for being injured during the crime.
As of now, under the Arizona Constitution, the right to sue for damages for death or injury may be unlimited. Because of this, anyone can sue for damages and everyone has liability over their property no matter what the circumstances.
There is foreseeable hope for the victim. A criminal can no longer add insult to injury by suing if Proposition 114 is passed this November. The proposition will make it so victims of a crime won’t have to pay a person who is injured while they are committing or attempting to commit a felony against the victim.
Some people who believe it is unnecessary, considering criminals rarely win in a court case, but there are also incidents such as the Howard and Hernandez case. Back in 2004, Hernandez shoplifted a bottle of lotion from a Tucson Safeway and Howard, the security guard, strangled him to death, and Hernandez’s family sued. Hernandez did not deserve to die and family had every right to sue. Unfortunately, Proposition 114 would make it so someone who had a similar situation wouldn’t be able to sue the attacker.
Proposition 114 is still a good idea. Put aside the rarity of criminals suing victims and the Hernandez case and there will be a law that protects victims from further harm. “If you allow criminals to sue their victims, they’re going to do it,” said Charles Heller, director of communications for the Arizona Citizens Defense League. A ridiculous case of criminal suing the victim is back in 2004 where a southern Arizona rancher, Roger Barnett held trespassers at gunpoint and made a citizen’s arrest. These trespassers sued and the rancher had to pay for the severe emotional distress the trespassers felt during the crime.
If voted “yes,” Proposition 114 will be able to stop outlandish civil cases such as the Roger Barnett incident. A criminal who falls down the stairs or gets attacked by the victim shouldn’t be able to sue. Our country is built on all forms of freedom, including being able to sue for practically any reason, but there should be limitations such as the ones offered in Proposition 114.