A legislator in Oklahoma has announced a new bill designed to protect people who use self-defense against violence from “malicious prosecution.”
Republican state Senator Nathan Dahm said he is introducing SB 1120 in the Oklahoma Senate to protect citizens and insulate the legal use of self-defense from subsequent criminal charges made for “political reasons.”
The new proposal was announced days after Kyle Rittenhouse was found acquitted of all charges by a jury in Wisconsin after prosecuting him for firing shots against aggressors in self-defense during the August 2020 riot in that city.
The Oklahoma bill has been captioned as “Kyle’s law” and provides legal remedies for “victims of malicious prosecution” that include compensation for damages and expenses.
State residents would be able to claim “fair and just compensation” if they are found not guilty of murder charges because they acted in self-defense. In that situation, the state could be ordered to pay damages to the successful defendant for reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees incurred in defending the case and lost wages.
The bill’s language provides that a claim for damages must prove that the state prosecutor initiated the criminal prosecution without “probable cause.” The trial must have been finally concluded in the defendant’s favor, and the claimant must be able to prove that an injury was sustained as a result of the prosecution.
The proposed bill also allows for damages against a prosecutor personally if malice is established. The bill states that malice will be shown if a prosecution is brought with ill will or in an oppressive manner to disregard a criminal defendant’s rights intentionally.
Dahm said in a press release that state lawmakers have a duty to constituents to protect them from criminal prosecutions motivated by politics. He noted that Rittenhouse should not have been charged and that the evidence, as immediately established by videos available in the case, found that he acted in self-defense.
Dahm also said that the bill will “ensure that what happened to Kyle Rittenhouse cannot happen to the people of Oklahoma.”