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tennage citizen's arrest

    Mon, 2006-09-25 07:38 — luke618

    Several weeks ago my husband and I heard our neighbor's front gate slam shut at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night. Out neigbors were away for several days at the time. My husband went into the yard and found three teenage boys. He asked what they were doing, names, and place or residences. They refused to answer then tried to run. He grabbed the last one who was told to sit on the ground. This boy gave two names along with "his own" which was false.
    My question is: was this illegal for my husband to do? The boy who was caught, his father is a local sherrif and is threatening to sue saying my husband illegally detained a minor. Is that correct? If the desire struck, would it have been possible to perform a Citizen's Arrest on this kid?
    Considering these kids had been caught twice previously throwing tennis balls at passing cars and stringing cable across the street to damage cars-not to mention the fact two houses had been t.p.ed and egged and several cars had been stollen in the area within a few weeks of this innodence our tolerence for misbehavior has been pretty limited.

    KibunInc's picture

    Thank you for the question. In this situation it sounds like your husband may have prevented a burglary (459 PC). Since the teenagers only made it past the gate (I think you are talking about a fence gate to the rear yard), the most that you have is a tresspassing (602PC). I have a couple of questions about the situation but I think I can cover the various possibilities. One question would be were your neighbors home? If they were and the teenagers had no legal grounds to be there, then a CA (Citizens Arrest) would have been done by the owners of the property if they desired. If your neighbors asked you to watch over the property for them while they were away then I would have arrested the teenagers.

    Was it an illegal detention by your husband. Based on the information given I would say NO. If your neighbors were out of town and your husband knows that no one should be at the residence (especially someone who does not live ther and given the time of night and recent problems in the neigborhood), then I would consider your husband to be a good neighbor. My only concern with your husband confronting people in the night is the possiblility of him getting shot. You should call 911 first and let the authorities confront the people.

    Could your husband have pushed for a CA. YES. anyone can arrest anyone at anytime but you take on any civil liability. If the arrest is a false arrest then you can be sued. The big question on this case would be did the homeowner give the teenagers permission to be in his backyard. Or where the teenagers back there to retrieve a ball that went over the fence?

    The Sheriff said that he is going to sue you for illegally detaining a minor. In California based on the information given it does not sound like an illegal detention. Once again the teenagers have to have a legal reason to be on someone else's property. It sounds like the Officer was upset and running his mouth. The question I would have asked the Officer is why was your son in the backyard of someone else's property. Ask him if he was investigating this situation wouldn't he ask the teenagers the same question? and expect a resonable answer. Why did the other teenages run, who are they? These are questions as an Officer I would ask during the investiagtion.

    You said that the teenager lied about his name. Unfortunatiley (In California) to be a violation of the law (148 PC), he must provide the false information to an Officer in order to avoid prosecution for a crime.

    You also bring up several other incidents. The egging of houses (594PC)and the Tp'd.The one that concerns me the most is the stolen cars (10851 VC). If there is a pattern starting to show with these teenagers then the sooner it is dealt with the better for the kids. Once they are adults then their records are with them for life.

    If these problems are starting up then you may want to get together with your neighbors and form a block watchers group. Tell the local authorities that you are having a block watchers meeting and ask them to come to the meeting. Ocne at the meeting you can let them know that you want extra patrol in the neighborhood and they can answer questions regarding local laws. This will also let the Police know that you will be working for a better neighborhood and will be calling them to assist with stopping problems in the area before it is too late. many agencies call this community oriented policing or problem oriented policing. Many agencies welcome this and you will probably be happy with the response that you get from the department.

    If you are afraid that the Police do not want to arrest the son of one of their own, don't worry about it. If they commit a crime then they get arrested. I have arrested people related to Officers and city officials. They get prosecuted the same. Good luck and if you have any other questions feel free to ask.

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