NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Tennessee lawmaker is proposing a new law that would reimburse accused killers if it’s proven they acted in self-defense and were acquitted of the charges against them.
Rep. Bruce Griffey (R) of House District 75 has dubbed the bill “Kyle’s Law,” in honor of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Wisconsin teen who shot and killed two people during a protest in Kenosha but was later acquitted of all charges.
If passed, Kyle’s law would require the state to reimburse legal fees and lost wages, if the person is acquitted of murder charges based on self-defense.
“I’m trying to balance the scales out a little bit here,” said Rep. Griffey. “I think we all saw what happened. He was attacked. He was defending himself and the jury found that. And despite that, he was still prosecuted for a murder charge. This law is intended to sort of protect that from happening in the future.”
“I think it’s a reasonable response to make sure citizens are protected from malicious prosecutions or being prosecuted when there’s not really enough evidence in the case to pursue a criminal charge against them,” said Griffey. “They have to go through hiring a lawyer, hiring experts, lost wages – all costs to them. That’s not a fair system.”
Lawmakers across the aisle call “Kyle’s Law” alarming and say it has no place in Tennessee law.
“This is a serious lack of respect for and lack of trust for publicly elected officials and district attorneys nationwide,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D) of House District 55.
Clemmons says the bill is offensive to Tennesseans’ Second Amendment rights and a political ploy. “This individual wants to mischaracterize the exploits and murderous conduct of this out-of-state individual to try to score political points. It’s offensive. It really should never see the light of day.”
Kyle’s Law will go before a criminal justice subcommittee in the coming weeks.