John Coffin's Right To Resist March 19, 2007


Under the common law, citizens have a right to resist illegal armed intrusions by agents of the state.

Last week, Florida Circuit Judge Rick De Furia validated that right in a case involving John Coffin, a Sarasota County resident who beat two sheriff's deputies after they trespassed on his property and attacked his wife, dislocating her shoulder.

?Law enforcement was responsible for the chain of events here,? wrote Judge De Furia, who pointed out that the officers ? who were there to deliver a temporary restraining order ? had broken the law by entering the property without a warrant.

?What took place in the house was unfortunate,? De Furia concluded, ?but Mr. Coffin ... had a right to resist.?

This was not the first time Coffin ? a 56-year-old heart patient ? has been victimized by illicit State violence. In 2003 he was pepper-sprayed and then beaten severely by a club-wielding policeman who mistakenly believed that Coffin's license plate tag was bogus.

The right to resist is what separates a citizen from a subject.

Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

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