‘Make My Day’ Law Shields Prison Cell Killer

     DENVER (CN) — Citing the state’s “Make My Day” law, which immunizes the use of force to protect one’s dwelling, a Colorado appeals court found that the same logic shields inmates who stab fellow prisoners to death.
     As its name suggests, Colorado’s “Make My Day” statute draws inspiration from the famous line Clint Eastwood delivers as Dirty Harry in the film “Sudden Impact.”
     Antero Alaniz, who is already serving life without parole for a 2005 conviction, invoked the law when he was charged for the 2011 murder of a fellow inmate at Sterling Correctional Facility.
     State records show that Alaniz, 36, has since been assigned to Limon.
     On June 30, the Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the new charges.
     Though prosecutors had argued that it would contravene public policy to adopt Alaniz’s interpretation of “make-my-day” immunity, the three-judge appellate panel focused their analysis on the basic, legal definition of a dwelling.
     “The criminal code’s definitional section states that a dwelling is ‘a building which is used, intended to be used, or usually used by a person for habitation,'” Judge David Richmond wrote for the court.
     “Alaniz presented evidence at the hearing that prisoners in his unit slept in their cells, stored personal belongings there, and could lock or unlock their own cell doors.
     “On this record, Alaniz’s prison cell constituted a dwelling.”
     Judge Dennis Graham and Judge Laurie Booras concurred.
     The 21-page ruling cites court testimony to lay out the 2011 killing at Sterling.
     Alaniz and his cellmate “were described as generally kept to themselves and did not cause trouble for prison staff or other inmates.”
     Cleveland Flood, the man found dead in their cell with 90 stab wounds, was a different story.
     “Both the CDOC investigator and the other inmates described Flood as a bully who had a reputation for extorting other inmates, particularly those who were either mentally or physically weaker than he was,” the opinion says.
     Surveillance video showed Flood entering Alaniz’s cell but did not capture what happened inside.
     Alaniz testified that Flood entered without permission, “closed the door behind him, brandished a shank, and demanded commissary items.”

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