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Old August 8, 2010, 05:23 PM   #1
Glenn E. Meyer
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Citizen's arrest? Good idea?

We've had lots of debate about what to do with the guy who you catch stealing something.

We've seen folks imply that he's a dead man.
Tell him to stay put and cuff him, Dano!

Let him flee into the miasma.

So here's a short story: http://www.policeone.com/bizarre/art...-arrested-him/

The guy is suing for stress and injuries - $500K. How much will the defense cost? Could the good guy recover court costs in the BG loses?
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Old August 8, 2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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This is ridiculous. You should see a summary judgment dumping the action or a directed verdict from the judge. That's what should happen but...
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Old August 8, 2010, 06:02 PM   #3
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The case shouldn't even be heard, but the BG has rights, and we have to make sure there was only the appropriate amount of force used to subdue him:barf:
I miss the old days where the BG would feel he was lucky not to have a few broken bones to show for his stupidity !!!
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Old August 8, 2010, 06:29 PM   #4
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Oh well. This is however a single odd ball case out of thousands. If they will stop and comply I will hold them for LE. I have already done so several times.

Once a customer shoplifted an air nailer from our showroom. Another customer informed us and we chased the bad guy a very short distance. We recovered the nailer and held the bad guy up against the support pillar waiting for LE to arrive. The bad guy took a swing at our employee. He ducked and grabbed the bad guys pony tail and pulled him back several feet and to the ground. This employee then stepped on the pony tail and pepper sprayed the guy at point blank range. The cops had to call ems the guy was so messed up from the pepper spray. No legal or civil problems from anyone involved.
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Old August 8, 2010, 06:34 PM   #5
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On January 28, 2010, Gilbert, Arizona, police Lt. Eric Lewis Shuhandler was handling a traffic stop.

The passenger was a felon in possession of a firearm.

He shot the Lt. in the back of the head killing him and told the driver to take off.

They led authorities on a wild chase that ended in their capture.

The driver is now suing the city of Gilbert for several million dollars because he is not happy with the way he was and is being treated.

There is something MAJORLY wrong with this picture!

Here is a link...http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...r-lawsuit.html

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Old August 8, 2010, 06:53 PM   #6
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Here in California, a citizen's arrest is hardly any different from that made by a peace officer. That said, the citizen may only use force which is reasonable. Here, it is tricky because a citizen doesn't have the training like an academy graduate who becomes a peace officer. It's a subjective call for the jury as to what reasonable is.

Lawsuits of this nature can minimally reap an out of court settlement for the plaintiff lawbreaker. It's a pain in the arse for the citizen and attorneys all too eager to look for work will take this case just for his share of the settlement. I still think we need tort reform very badly in this country.

I hope this guy gets a jury of his peers - people who have been or know others who are crime victims. May they vote nay on damages or any pecuniary awards.
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Old August 8, 2010, 07:45 PM   #7
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Found any lawsuits by a badguy who got shot by homeowner or other citizen in self-defense? I've seen quite a few. I guess that means we should cower in the corner allowing the bad guys to have their way with us for fear they might (ooooooh aaaaaaah) call a lawyer.

In the real world, juries aren't particularly sympathetic to scumbags.... or the attorneys who represent scumbags.

No offense to all you scumbag criminal defense attorneys and plaintiff's ambulance chasers.
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Old August 8, 2010, 08:13 PM   #8
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No offense to all you scumbag criminal defense attorneys and plaintiff's ambulance chasers.
Ya mean the lawyers you will be whining for in the event you get wrapped up in some gun gig

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Old August 9, 2010, 09:44 AM   #9
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The hard reality is that a citizens arrest is usually a mistake. Do YOU know the correct wording of the Miranda warning? If you make a citizens arrest, you need to recite it or the arrest is illegal and the subject can walk free.

The best thing to do is to hold the subject for police, which you can do. The problem is that you can use only a minimal restraint or the threat of a gun. You can't use the gun, and if the subject gives you the middle finger salute and walks away, there is nothing you can do. (In some states, if the crime was a felony, you can shoot to stop the felon, but check your local laws.)

As to a lawsuit, anyone can sue anyone for anything, which is why lawyers live on multi-million dollar estates and drive cars that cost 300 grand. Winning a case is another matter, but if a judge or jury gets tweaked the wrong way (or bribed), or if there is a racial issue involved, the "good guy" could lose. And no, he won't be reimbursed for court costs or attorney's fees - the scumbag is in jail and never had any money in the first place.

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Old August 9, 2010, 09:52 AM   #10
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And no, he won't be reimbursed for court costs or attorney's fees - the scumbag is in jail and never had any money in the first place.
The s-bag and his lawyer should be jointly and severally liable for paying the court costs. (The lawyer can go after his former client to collect after the lawyer has to cough up the money.)
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Old August 9, 2010, 09:57 AM   #11
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We can rant about how things "otta be" but what do laws have to do with justice?

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Old August 9, 2010, 10:05 AM   #12
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Three guys saw someone with a bicycle that had been stolen some time before, pointed a gun at the person when they were not immediately threatened, put cuffs on him, and roughed him up in Florida, and all they face is a civil suit? They're lucky--so far, anyway. Not real smart, mind you, but lucky.

The character and background of their "catch" and what he may have done before this incident are completely irrelevant, in the eyes of the law.

I suggest that, had the gun gone off, we would not be reading about civil proceedings.

Mattter of fact, had the guy been someone who had obtained the stolen property from the burglar--they would really have some 'splainin' to do.
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Old August 9, 2010, 10:28 AM   #13
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The s-bag and his lawyer should be jointly and severally liable for paying the court costs. (The lawyer can go after his former client to collect after the lawyer has to cough up the money.)
The criminal is representing himself - doesn't have a lawyer.

Stories like this give me a better road map of how to handle a home invasion. A "citizen's arrest" ain't on that map. I'm not a cop, not about to play cop, and not about to be cross-examined in a civil court for playing cop.
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Old August 9, 2010, 11:00 AM   #14
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Stories like this give me a better road map of how to handle a home invasion. A "citizen's arrest" ain't on that map. I'm not a cop, not about to play cop, and not about to be cross-examined in a civil court for playing cop.
Same here. If I end up with an invader at gunpoint and he starts looking antsy & agitated, as if he's going to try something before the cops arrive, I'll make it clear that if he runs, I won't shoot him in the back.
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Old August 9, 2010, 11:19 AM   #15
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Pretty much all the news coverage treats this as "news of the weird" -- a man-bites-dog story of sorts. It sounds like something that'll probably be thrown out at the first opportunity.

That said, I think Old Marksman has it right; those guys were lucky. If you're going to do something like this, you'd better hope that person you "arrest" is a convicted felon who also has some cocaine on him... as was the case with Mr. Dupree.

And you may want to ask yourself how many bicycles and van windows you could buy for what a mistake, in a situation like this, may cost you -- even without a really stupid lawsuit...
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Old August 9, 2010, 11:20 AM   #16
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The criminal is representing himself - doesn't have a lawyer.
What is the old adage about an attorney who defends himself, has a fool for a client.

This suit will go nowhere, but it will cost the defendant time, anguish, and $$.
I believe that we should change the law, as many countries have, that the loser in any civil suite pays all costs and fees. This would help prevent the number of frivolous law suits filed. It would also force a number of unethical attorneys to find honest work but what the hell, the rest of us have had to do it.
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Old August 9, 2010, 11:37 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jim Keenan
The hard reality is that a citizens arrest is usually a mistake. Do YOU know the correct wording of the Miranda warning? If you make a citizens arrest, you need to recite it or the arrest is illegal and the subject can walk free.
Citation please? The Miranda Warning has absolutely nothing to do with an arrest.

The Miranda warning (commonly, but incorrectly: Miranda rights, as the rights in question are defined in the U.S. Constitution) is a warning that is required to be given by police in the United States to criminal suspects in police custody (or in a custodial situation) before they are interrogated to inform them about their constitutional rights.

Persons are arrested every day without Miranda. How many traffic tickets have you gotten? The stop, detention, and check of your driver's license is an arrest made by an officer for the duration necessary to issue a citation. Have you ever been given your Miranda warning during a traffic stop?

Example:

RCW (Revised Code of Washington) 46.64.015:
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.64.015

Quote:
RCW 46.64.015
Citation and notice to appear in court — Issuance — Contents — Arrest — Detention.

Whenever any person is arrested for any violation of the traffic laws or regulations which is punishable as a misdemeanor or by imposition of a fine, the arresting officer may serve upon him or her a traffic citation and notice to appear in court. Such citation and notice shall conform to the requirements of RCW 46.64.010, and in addition, shall include spaces for the name and address of the person arrested, the license number of the vehicle involved, the driver's license number of such person, if any, the offense or violation charged, and the time and place where such person shall appear in court. Such spaces shall be filled with the appropriate information by the arresting officer. An officer may not serve or issue any traffic citation or notice for any offense or violation except either when the offense or violation is committed in his or her presence or when a person may be arrested pursuant to RCW 10.31.100, as now or hereafter amended. The detention arising from an arrest under this section may not be for a period of time longer than is reasonably necessary to issue and serve a citation and notice, except that the time limitation does not apply under any of the following circumstances:

(1) Where the arresting officer has probable cause to believe that the arrested person has committed any of the offenses enumerated in RCW 10.31.100(3);

(2) When the arrested person is a nonresident and is being detained for a hearing under RCW 46.64.035.
We are not LEO. The response above about Miranda warning shows the lack of knowlege that we have regarding arrest and detention procedures. Unless it is a serious crime that I see (IE: felony), I won't be doing any citizen's arrests for things such as shoplifting or graffiti.

One of my previous assignments was OIC of military convoys moving on public highways, sometimes with top secret equipment/information. I have had extra training in detaining civilians and the use of deadly force.

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Old August 9, 2010, 11:58 AM   #18
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Methinks a citizen's arrest is a not so good thing. Too much peril if you screw it up. Why take that chance? If he is not immediately threatening you or yours call the cops and be a good witness. My civic duty IMHO ends with the 911 call and subsequent appearance in court as a witness.
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Old August 9, 2010, 02:11 PM   #19
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In the real world, juries aren't particularly sympathetic to scumbags.... or the attorneys who represent scumbags.
In the real world, if you get to a jury trial in a civil matter, you'll have spent five figures in cash to get there - and that doesn't even get into the time off work you'll need to attend depositions, hearings, meet with your attorney, etc.

As for a suing the loser for court costs, the loser in this case is a felon in a federal prison. You'll have no trouble getting the judgement against him. Collecting on the judgment may present a problem though. If you're lucky, you can sell your judgment to a professional collection agency for $.01 per $1 awarded and get something back.

I just wanted to point that out because I see a certain number of people who have "Let the jury vindicate me" as Plan A for their post-shooting incident response and I don't think those people understand that having an incident go to a jury is comparable to the Soviets burning all their farms and factories and falling back to let the Germans advance - you may ultimately win the war with that strategy; but you are going to pay a lot in suffering to do it.
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Old August 9, 2010, 02:30 PM   #20
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In my opinion it is a bad idea. I can see ordering someone(who has tried to rob, or assault me) to lie on the ground while I call the police. However, if they choose to flee, I would let them go.

This whole notion seems to go hand in hand with other grand ideas(fantasies?) of crime fighting that some CCW holders seem to have.
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Old August 9, 2010, 09:07 PM   #21
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No Bart, I wouldn't. If you have guys that are cranking the discovery for the sake of cranking out the discovery, then that happens. You hired "litigators". If they can't show me recent trial success or successful summary judgment, I don't hire them. And if you have a civil defense attorney that takes 5 figures to defeat a pro se jailhouse defendant, your insurance company has an idiot for an adjuster.

I'd prolly represent myself against a pro se jailbird. You likely shouldn't (and I shouldn't either).

Quote:
Stories like this give me a better road map of how to handle a home invasion. A "citizen's arrest" ain't on that map. I'm not a cop, not about to play cop, and not about to be cross-examined in a civil court for playing cop.
Quote:
The problem is that you can use only a minimal restraint or the threat of a gun.
Well, if you point a gun at a guy, you're arresting him, legally speaking. He isn't free to leave, at least if a REASONABLE person in his position would think he wasn't free to leave.

You don't have to utter the magic words "I'm putting you under citizen's arrest" or handcuffs to arrest someone. It's still can be argued to be a "seizure" of that person and iis (arguably) an arrest.

The badguy can still sue you and claim you have unlawfully arrested him. If you point a gun at him then tell him to move to the corner and spread-eagle, he can claim you arrested and kidnapped him unlawfully. He can claim ANYTHING he wants and can drag you into court for the cost of a few sheets of paper.

The cabdriver can sue you. Your guy in the car next to you in the morning rush hour can sue you. Your old girlfriend can sue you. Your ex-spouses new lover can sue you (breach of implied warranty of fitness

All for the cost of a few sheets of paper.

Cower in fear if you wish. Sell your guns and move to some socialist paradise. See if that helps.

As someone else said, Miranda applies only to gubment (or agents of the gubment) and you prolly ain't one or you wouldn't be asking some of these questions.

Last edited by Kmar40; August 9, 2010 at 09:27 PM.
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Old August 9, 2010, 09:37 PM   #22
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Cower in fear if you wish.

That never got any one sued

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Old August 9, 2010, 10:27 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by nate45
In my opinion it is a bad idea. I can see ordering someone(who has tried to rob, or assault me) to lie on the ground while I call the police. However, if they choose to flee, I would let them go.
Good post nate. I'd like to second the quote and add in a little bit. One of the videos I watched during my CCW class showed a type of citizen's arrest (scenario is a person walks in in a burglar and does the following): Order the criminal to drop anything in their hands, get on the floor, feet towards you, legs crossed arms spread eagle, palms up, head turned away from you. Then the key: do not position yourself between the criminal and the nearest exist, move if you have to. You then call the police etc etc.

If I had to make a citizen's arrest (I hope I don't, don't want to imagine the type of situation that would call for it), that is how I would go about it. I think it would be prudent to also inform the criminal, while on the phone with 991, that any movement away from the position (ie: turning palms over, uncrossing legs, etc) would be considered an attempt at my life. Note that it's not "I will shoot", just that it would be considered a threat. The dispatcher would hear this, it would be recorded, so that if something did happen, I have that recording to use as evidence. Now if the guy actually uncrossed his legs I wouldn't shoot him, I'd wait until it was more evident that he intended to harm me, which I would hope would seem like I'm giving him more of the benefit of the doubt. And remember, not between the door and the criminal, if he got up and moved towards the door, I'd let him go, not worth it.
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Old August 10, 2010, 01:23 AM   #24
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We've had lots of debate about what to do with the guy who you catch stealing something.

We've seen folks imply that he's a dead man.
Tell him to stay put and cuff him, Dano!

Let him flee into the miasma.

So here's a short story: http://www.policeone.com/bizarre/art...-arrested-him/

The guy is suing for stress and injuries - $500K. How much will the defense cost? Could the good guy recover court costs in the BG loses?
Stopping someone who you know has your [now stolen] property is legal. In this case, McKoy had every reason to believe Dupree commited a felony to obtain the bike (i.e. burglary of the van) and did have a right to arrest him. If nothing else, he has a right to seize his own property back.

This is one of those reasons an alternative weapon like pepper spray or stun gun should be carried. An Oleoresin Capsicum Baptism is better than shooting him. Applying the stun gun to the handlebars or his back would be better than shooting him. Whilst he's otherwise distracted, you can reclaim your property.

If you get your property back you can let him go. Or someone can get his ID, write the number and last name down and give it back before letting him go. The file a complaint with the PD if desired.

Someone caught on your property stealing? If you can get them to drop the goods, then let them go with a warning that next time he gets a trip to jail. If he's compliant, obeys your instructions and you think you can wait for the PD to show up, then keep him at gunpoint until they do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Keenan
The hard reality is that a citizens arrest is usually a mistake. Do YOU know the correct wording of the Miranda warning? If you make a citizens arrest, you need to recite it or the arrest is illegal and the subject can walk free.

The best thing to do is to hold the subject for police, which you can do. The problem is that you can use only a minimal restraint or the threat of a gun. You can't use the gun, and if the subject gives you the middle finger salute and walks away, there is nothing you can do. (In some states, if the crime was a felony, you can shoot to stop the felon, but check your local laws.)
The force allowed depends on the state. California has no specific statute for citizen's arrest but generally holds that only reasonable force is ever justified.

Now, there is no requirement for a citizen to issue a Miranda warning. Nor is there a limitation on citizens while protecting their property, from searching a person or his vehicle on the property. Let's suppose I find your truck backed up to my garage while you're loading my belongings into it and I perform a citizen's arrest with the aid of my 12-bore. Once I secure you - handcuffs, rope, duct-tape, etc. - I can legally look inside your truck for my belongings, especially whilst taking your keys. If I see that key-ring has a key for your in-bed storage box and open it to discover a sawed-off shotgun, it is likely going to be admissible in court.

You can attempt to sue me for "invasion of privacy" or something like that. But after catching a thief in the act, a citizen searching for his property opening a locked container is likely "a reasonable action". In California, I may search the arrestee and take from him any weapons. I would extend that to his vehicle too as a "reasonable precaution".

Additionally, even under citizen's arrest, if I ask you questions like "How long did you case my house?" or "Did you come here just to grab this cheap junk?", that may seem like an inadmissable interrogation without a Miranda warning, but it is not. I am a citizen, not a government agent. Yes, I can repeat your answers and that can be included in the police report and trial (undoubtedly over objections).

In general, I don't like the idea of "citizen's arrest" in these circumstances, but it is legal. You can let the perp go, but deny him access to his vehicle until the PD removes it from your property (bad car, it trespassed, it has to go to car-jail!). Powers of citizen's arrest vary from state to state and it's best to know the laws in your own state.

Addendum:
Check the laws in your state about threats. Never tell a perp that you let go that next time you'll maim, kill or shoot him. Don't even allude to putting him in the hospital or morgue. In John Wayne's "Big Jake" there's a memorable scene where he rescues a sheep farmer and tells the cowboys who were going to hang him, If you follow him, I'll hunt ya down and kill ya. Every mother's son of ya! Today, in California, that would be deemed a "terroristic threat" which is an arrestable offense.
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Old August 10, 2010, 02:24 AM   #25
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Dumb mistake.

A CCW doesn't make one a "junior sheriff/lone ranger", people need to learn this.

Threating someone with deadly force that stole a bicycle? Really...? Are you really going to shoot someone over a bicycle? Think about that for a few minutes...

Carrying handcuffs? Again, really? What sort of mall ninja are you...?

These stories of idiots who think that a CCW license makes them into some some sort of "junior FBI" aggravate and disturb me...
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