Wisconsin law is currently awaiting the expected signing by Governor Scott Walker of AB 69 into law. Both houses of the State Legislature passed the legislation relating to presumptions of self-defense in defending private property.
AB 69 clarifies and expands a property owner's right to use deadly force against someone who unlawfully and forcibly enters a dwelling, vehicle, or place of business regardless of whether deadly force is reasonably necessary.
A “dwelling” is "any premises or portion of a premises that is used as a home or a place of residence and that part of the lot or site on which the dwelling is situated that is devoted to residential use" and also includes driveways, sidewalks, porches, garages, etc.
If and when Governor Walker signs the bill into law, there will be a change in the presumption relating to defending such a dwelling. Under current law, the Court must determine whether a person who kills an intruder reasonably believed the force was necessary to defend against imminent death or substantial harm. Under the new law, the Court must presume that the person defending their property was justified in killing an intruder.
The presumption applies if a intruder entered or was in the process of entering a dwelling, vehicle, or place of business unlawfully and by force. If the property owner is present and reasonably believes that an unlawful or forcible entry is occurring, the property owner is presumed justified to use deadly force.
The presumption does not apply if the intruder is a self-identified “public safety worker.” The presumption also does not apply if the property owner is engaged in criminal activity.
The presumption applies both to limit criminal prosecution of the property owner and to bar civil suits against a property owner.
Attorney James N. Graham, real estate attorney with Accession Law LLC
U.S. regulators hit the nation's largest banks with a first round of sweeping penalties for improper home-foreclosure practices, issuing detailed orders to revamp the way they deal with troubled borrowers. The orders issued on Wednesday to 14 financial institutions didn't include fines. Officials said they are coming.
"There will be civil money penalties; the question is timing and amount. But we're not letting that clock run forever," Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh told reporters. The orders were issued by his office, the Federal Reserve and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
The regulators issued the orders to the nation's four largest banks—Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. Also receiving orders were Ally Financial Inc., HSBC Holdings PLC, MetLife Inc., PNC Financial Services Group Inc., SunTrust Banks Inc., U.S. Bancorp, Aurora Bank, EverBank, OneWest Bank and Sovereign Bank. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan and Citigroup were ordered to revamp mortgage-lending practices.
Under the orders, banks have 60 days to establish plans to clean up their mortgage-servicing processes to prevent documentation errors. The orders also direct banks to take steps to ensure they have enough staff to handle the flood of foreclosures, that foreclosures don't happen when a borrower is receiving a loan modification and that borrowers have a single point of contact throughout the loan-modification and foreclosure process.
Banks must hire an independent consultant to conduct a "look back" of all foreclosure proceedings from 2009 and 2010 to evaluate whether they improperly foreclosed on any homeowners and require each company to establish its own process to consider whether to compensate borrowers who have been harmed. Critics, including other regulators, believe this process and other aspects of the orders leave too much discretion to banks.