- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - In a Jan. 9 story about a case to be heard before the Indiana Appeals Court, The Associated Press erroneously reported the Indiana county involved in the appeal. Harrison County was appealing the $1.2 million judgment, not Hamilton County. The case involved a Harrison County sheriff’s deputy, not a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy.

A corrected version of the story is below:

County appeals $1.2M judgment in suicide of deputy’s wife

Harrison County is appealing a $1.2 million judgment awarded to the daughter of a woman who killed herself using a gun provided by her husband, a local sheriff’s deputy

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Harrison County is appealing a $1.2 million judgment awarded to the daughter of a woman who killed herself using a gun provided by her husband, a local sheriff’s deputy.

The Indiana Appeals Court will hear arguments in the case Tuesday.

Court documents said Deputy John Britton was arguing with his wife, Christine, in 2009 when she threatened to kill herself. He laid his personal gun on the bed, left the room and heard a shot shortly after.

According to the documents, Deputy Britton owned many guns, and often carried one in and out the house. In his testimony, Britton said his wife previously threatened her to kill herself, but he did not believe she would go through with her threat.

He was later indicted and pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness.

Jurors awarded the judgment in February to Leandra Ayers, Christine Britton’s daughter from a previously relationship, the Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/2iw4rRl ) reported.

Attorneys for the sheriff’s office argue that John Britton acted for himself and not as a sheriff’s deputy during the incident. The county contends the ruling is an “unprecedented expansion” of the law and could open municipalities statewide to “limitless” litigation.

The plaintiff’s attorneys argued in a brief that John Britton acted in the scope of his employment as deputy during the time of the suicide. In some circumstances, Indiana law gives law enforcement officers immunity from civil litigation, but not all.

Ayers’ attorney, Matthew Schad, said that a police officer’s duty is to enforce the law and protect people even when they are off-duty.

“John’s job was to enforce the law and safeguard the peace and safety of citizens of Harrison County whether he was on or off of the clock,” according to a brief filed by Schad.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com


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