The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:17 AM
Win Place Show Win Place Show is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
can the police order you back into your own house, when they're arresting someone across the street?

(no, don't 'need answer fast'), and I've completely simplified the hypothetical scenario here - but let's say it's after dusk one night, on your street, in a typically quiet neighborhood.

You walk outside to check the mail, and you notice three police cars right across the street, with the blue-and-red-lights illuminating the neighborhood - giving some potential 'perp' a complete turn through the ringer (he's sitting on the sidewalk in cuffs, they're going through his car with a spotlight, etc).

# 1 - (in the spirit of IMHO) - would you stand outside in your yard and be tempted to just 'watch'? (somehow I'm guessing - if you're like me - you certainly would).

# 2 - would it be within the officers' rights to order you back inside your own house (even though you aren't "bothering anyone", I'm sure they don't want to worry if you're some 'cop-hater', with who-knows-what sort of weapon in your pocket).

# 3 - are you obligated to go back inside your house at that point (again, your intent is to not "bother anyone") - or is there some sort of "this is my property, and I'll stand here quietly if I want to" loophole that you can claim? What would be the charge, if you refused? Somehow "interfering with a police investigation" seems a bit of a stretch.

I'm sure this is one of those 'YMMV' answers, but I'm curious if there's one general answer.

And since you long-timers seem to have touched on every "what would you do" scenario known to man , if there's a thread where this has already been asked/answered, then please point me to it.

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:38 AM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 10,517
IANAL... My WAG is that, yeah, you have the legal right to stand on your own front porch and watch. It's your property, and the police shouldn't be able to make you leave.

However... Sometimes, there are evacuation orders, and I think they have the force of law. So, if the cops escalate the action to a full cordon and evacuation, they might have the legal power to make you go.

They could also get pissy, later, and charge you with a nuisance charge, such as "obstructing a police investigation" or something nitty like that.

Give 'em credit: they don't want you to get hurt, and, even more, they don't want to get hurt while acting to protect you. If the cop yells, "Get out of here," the wise thing to do is get.

(It's a little like the question of whether you should resist an illegal search. If a bunch of rogue cops break in to your house and don't have a warrant, or the warrant is for another address -- it's happened -- you simply do not fight 'em. You watch, sadly, as they toss the place, and your lawyer has it out with them, later, via proper channels. Don't argue with the nice guy in the blue shirt, even if he happens to be wrong. It doesn't pay.)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:43 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
#1: Sure, I'd watch. I'd like to see how the cops in my neighborhood do their stuff, I haven't lived here that long.

#2: It's a free country, they can say whatever they want. However...

#3: They're the ones with the guns, badges, cable ties & handcuffs. Whether or not I get arrested if I don't do what they say is a decision they get to make, not me.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-16-2013, 01:11 AM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2008
You have a right to watch at a safe distance and take photographs. But can you afford to vindicate that right in court when the police mistakenly decide that you do not and wish to enforce their will?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-16-2013, 01:21 AM
Tollhouse Tollhouse is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Why would you want to resist, just to be able to stand there and gawk? I should think you could do that from your window?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-16-2013, 02:41 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 7,486
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
You have a right to watch at a safe distance and take photographs. But can you afford to vindicate that right in court when the police mistakenly decide that you do not and wish to enforce their will?
It seems that police commonly don't want witnesses seeing what they're up to.

And some jurisdictions, apparently, have passed laws or ordinances prohibiting citizens from photographing police in public. (I don't have any cites at my fingertips. But I've seen articles from time to time about this. It's very controversial, of course.)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-16-2013, 02:44 AM
the_diego the_diego is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
I would not stick around during an arrest, unless it's a relative or a close friend. If the guy is in/near his house and that house has enough firepower to take the Persian Gulf, I'm sure you'd rather be someplace else.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-16-2013, 07:23 AM
Emtar KronJonDerSohn Emtar KronJonDerSohn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Yes
Yes
No

One morning I was getting ready for work at around 2:00am and a gentleman had led police on a pursuit which terminated in my front yard. I glanced out the window to see his car in my lawn and the police giving him a field sobriety test on the sidewalk so I finished breakfast and went outside. An officer told me to go back inside, I told him I had to go to work and asked if they would have me blocked in for long. He said no and moved his car a few minutes later so I could go.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-16-2013, 07:42 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Yes, the police can order you to go back in your house. Whether or not you are legally bound to obey that order is the question. They can charge you with some kind of 'interfering' if you don't obey, and then there's the question of whether that charge is legitimate. Make your life easier, go inside and look out the window, with your cell phone camera recording everything.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-16-2013, 07:46 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
I think a good part of it is they don't want to escalate the situation. Yeah, the guy is cuffed but maybe they don't want him getting pissed off at the gawker and trying to get up and create a problem, maybe they just think it's rude to do that to someone who's already having a bad day. I'd listen to the officer - and stand inside with my camera if I thought there was reason to do so.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:31 AM
Doug K. Doug K. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
I've been in a similar situation once, except that it was broad daylight and I was coming home for lunch. No one told, or even asked me to leave, but I would have had they done so. I just sat in my driveway and watched two officers carry a guy kicking and screaming to the police car parked in front of my next door neighbor's house.

Turns out he had just tried to rob a nearby convenience store at knifepoint. He cut the cord to the cash register (cutting his own arm in the process) and tried to run off with it. Unfortunately for him he didn't notice the uniformed officer who was there to get coffee. He dropped the register in the parking lot and ran off on foot, making it about a two and a half blocks before being caught near my house.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:42 AM
control-z control-z is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
On YouTube there are plenty of videos of people watching and videoing the police. The police try to stop it, try to get the people to ID themselves, but they don't really have a leg to stand on and most know it. The only video I saw where the person got arrested is where they yelled "Nazis!" at the cops as they were leaving. That was after the the cops had stopped a young woman, searched through her car, and a male cop frisked her all over for weapons. All this was observed by the videoer standing in his garage/yard, but then he felt the need to yell an insult as the cops were walking to their cars.

There is also a group of people called Cop Block that stand on public property and video the police at road checkpoints and inform people of their rights. I haven't seen any of them get arrested.

Ultimately it seems like police could arrest you on the charge of something like obstructing justice, but if you keep your mouth shut and it's worth it to you to exercise your rights you will likely beat it in court.

Putting myself in the shoes of police, in addition to dealing with criminals all the time it would be annoying having random people video you while you're working. And it could complicate an already complicated situation. But with the power the police have and the "cops vs civilians" attitude many of them develop, they need to understand that they are not above the law and ultimately answer to the taxpayers, not directly but indirectly.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-16-2013, 11:01 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
I'm not a lawyer but I would imagine in most jurisdictions police can't force you to do anything on your own private property if you're choosing to stand in the yard while something is going on. They could definitely make you stop doing stuff if you were in any way interfering with their valid police activities (like imagine shining a bright spotlight in their face as they're trying to arrest someone.) But I'd be a little surprised if it's a valid police power that they can force you to stand inside your house versus outside your house just because they are scuffling with a suspect nearby.

Now, I imagine many police will yell for bystanders to go inside both for officer and bystander safety. There is a fear the bystanders might be relatives of the suspect and might rush the police if the scuffle gets out of hand, or there is a fear the suspect in some way may endanger bystanders. But I think that's more along the lines of "police yell that for good reason, but you probably can't be legally penalized for disregarding it."

If an officer gets really insistent about it, it's always best to listen. Better to listen to an illegal police command in the present tense and report his actions later than it is to get into an altercation with police.

There is a YouTube video of a guy who was videotaping police from his driveway, they get angry and demand he stop. It escalates very quickly and they end up roughing the guy up and arresting him on the spot. He ends up getting charged with something that I believe is almost immediately dismissed and the officer involved is either fired or punished, but he still would have had a much more pleasant evening if he had just gone inside and made his complaint after the fact.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-16-2013, 11:24 AM
Sahirrnee Sahirrnee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
I'd probably go back inside whether I was told to or not.

When I lived in the city the police did a drug bust just outside my fence. I watched long enough to see what it was and went back in.

Several times I had my truck blocked in my driveway while they were making an arrest, I went back inside, called work to tell them I'd be late and waited.

You don't know what kind of crazies the police are dealing with, who's on drugs or what kind, who's armed, or how violent it can get. You don't know what friends or family members may show up and start trouble.
I don't want to be anywhere near it.


Although I was somewhat amused that the big bad drug dealers busted behind my fence were crying like babies begging the police to let them go.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:13 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 7,486
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
If an officer gets really insistent about it, it's always best to listen. Better to listen to an illegal police command in the present tense and report his actions later than it is to get into an altercation with police.

There is a YouTube video of a guy who was videotaping police from his driveway, they get angry and demand he stop. It escalates very quickly and they end up roughing the guy up and arresting him on the spot. He ends up getting charged with something that I believe is almost immediately dismissed and the officer involved is either fired or punished, but he still would have had a much more pleasant evening if he had just gone inside and made his complaint after the fact.
Nobody believes that a complaint about police abuse, made after the fact, is going to do any good. We need police to maintain order, but who will bell the cat? As much as we may need police, we also need for the police to be watched. And take pics. Pics or it didn't happen.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:39 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
My wife and I were farting around in our driveway getting ready to do some yard work. My wife said, "look over there." It was a DC SWAT team creeping down the alley into our neighbor's back yard. A cop waved us to get inside so we stepped into the garage and watched from there. They arrested our neighbor for something or other five years ago and he just started showing back up in the neighborhood, which has changed significantly in his absence.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:45 PM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
If it was on my property, I'd not only not go inside, I'd go out and take pictures, to forestall any liability I might have as the property owner in case the perp decides to sue the cops and me jointly and severally.

I have no reason to retreat on my own property at all, cops, arrest or whatever.

If it was in the street, I'd stay on my own porch and watch. However, if the SWAT team was creeping up, I'd probably not want to blow their stealth, so I'd sneak in and see how I could peep out the windows without being obvious.

Last edited by bump; 04-16-2013 at 12:46 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:59 PM
jtgain jtgain is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
That's a great question OP. It's state specific, but some police around here will charge you with "obstruction of justice" for not doing any old silly thing they tell you to do. Our state supreme court has made it clear that any citizen has a right to peacefully approach a police officer and politely question him as to why is he doing what he is doing without risking arrest. Persistent inquiries? Not so much.

On a personal note, it's a problem I've had clerking in a law firm. It's such a vague statute that IMHO is unconstitutionally vague. It doesn't put a citizen on notice as to what he is/ is not allowed to do. It can't be "whatever in the fuck the police tell you to do!" because that would make us Communist China.

I can't imagine that sitting in your own yard or standing my your mailbox is obstructing what is happening across the street. But, around here you might get arrested if you ignore an order to go back inside. One of the things we are fighting right now.

Last edited by jtgain; 04-16-2013 at 01:00 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 04-16-2013, 01:01 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 14,685
Move along; nothing to see here.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 04-16-2013, 03:31 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
It really depends on how much you want to spend in legal fees 'being right'. If a cop tells you to go inside and you refuse you could be arrested for failing to follow a lawful order, on the other hand you could argue such a charge because the officer had no lawful reason to give such an order. Then you can cross your fingers and hope the court finds in your favor after all the facts are available.

It would suck to be you if the police can demonstrate you being outside was a public safety issue and you put officers in further danger because you decided to make a nuisance of yourself.

The police can prohibit people from even their own property if they are doing so in pursuit of solving a crime. If someones murdered in your house they get to secure the premises and throw your ass out even though it's 'your private property'

Officers get a fair amount of leeway in doing their job and juries aren't very sympathetic to those that get in the way of that.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 04-16-2013, 03:51 PM
2gigch1 2gigch1 is offline
ReMember
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 1,648
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Nobody believes that a complaint about police abuse, made after the fact, is going to do any good. We need police to maintain order, but who will bell the cat? As much as we may need police, we also need for the police to be watched. And take pics. Pics or it didn't happen.
As a news photog I say "Thank you, you got it right."

99%+ of officers & their deeds are above question, the few who are in error make it impossible for everyone involved.

You have a right to take video or still pictures provided you do not hinder the investigation. 'Because I say so' does not count as hindering.

Really anything a public official of any sort does should pass the test of public scrutiny. If it doesn't, there's a good change they are in the wrong. And I say that knowing full well a suspect who runs or fights is going to get the crap kicked out of him / her. That is to be expected.

It's the other stuff, the abuse of authority behavior that needs to be curbed.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:57 PM
DummyGladHands DummyGladHands is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
ICE was on our property once; they were arresting and deporting our tenant who had claimed political asylum, but not followed thru on the necessary paperwork. Men in brown jackets that said ICE on them all around the perimeter. They told us to go back in the house. There were a lot of them, we did.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 04-16-2013, 10:02 PM
Tollhouse Tollhouse is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Im really not getting the whole obnoxious defiant posturing of "you can't make me". If you truly dont have other important things in your life to do besides gawking at others, go inside and gawk from your window.

Why make their job more stressful or risky than it is. If you want to assist so badly, go join the police academy.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 04-16-2013, 11:56 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 30,615
Some of my neighbors and I (we lived in a big apartment building) watched a riot from outside the entrance door to our building. Some cops came along and saw pretty much immediately that we weren't involved, and tried to convince us to go inside, but it was all WAYYY too interesting. I was drinking out of a soda bottle and one of the cops snatched it out of my hand and sniffed it, presumably to find out whether I'd mixed in some alcohol, but I hadn't. Anyway, they moved on after giving us nothing more than strong suggestions for our own safety.

There was a point where a couple of guys broke into a drug store directly across the street from us, and we could see they were trying to start a fire inside. That's when one guy suggested we should all go over there and defend the place. Everyone else started laughing at that one. Then the same guy suggested we go find a cop who would stop it, and we had a good laugh about that one too. There were hundreds of people out smashing storefront windows and looting, and they burned a couple of cop cars, and none of us wanted to mix into the mob looking for a cop.

I think the cops we encountered were unusually well trained, or were on a very tight leash that night, under orders not to make unnecessary arrests or use excessive force. I think they didn't order us inside because they knew they couldn't order us inside.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 04-17-2013, 08:29 AM
What the .... ?!?! What the .... ?!?! is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tollhouse View Post
Im really not getting the whole obnoxious defiant posturing of "you can't make me". If you truly dont have other important things in your life to do besides gawking at others, go inside and gawk from your window.

Why make their job more stressful or risky than it is. If you want to assist so badly, go join the police academy.
Some people have a basic distrust of law enforcement and want to witness the situation.

If this were a debate it would boil down to......

There are some situations where it is proper (danger etc)

There are some where it's not (don't want any witnesses, etc)

Should they have to take the time and effort to explain or adjudicate the situation right then and there? No.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 04-17-2013, 08:50 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
...There was a point where a couple of guys broke into a drug store directly across the street from us, and we could see they were trying to start a fire inside. That's when one guy suggested we should all go over there and defend the place. Everyone else started laughing at that one. Then the same guy suggested we go find a cop who would stop it, and we had a good laugh about that one too. There were hundreds of people out smashing storefront windows and looting, and they burned a couple of cop cars, and none of us wanted to mix into the mob looking for a cop...
If only there was some magical device that would let you communicate with emergency personnel without going to find them yourselves.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 04-17-2013, 10:02 AM
Doug K. Doug K. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tollhouse View Post
Im really not getting the whole obnoxious defiant posturing of "you can't make me". If you truly dont have other important things in your life to do besides gawking at others, go inside and gawk from your window.

Why make their job more stressful or risky than it is. If you want to assist so badly, go join the police academy.
That makes me think of this thread.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 04-17-2013, 12:37 PM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tollhouse View Post
Im really not getting the whole obnoxious defiant posturing of "you can't make me". If you truly dont have other important things in your life to do besides gawking at others, go inside and gawk from your window.

Why make their job more stressful or risky than it is. If you want to assist so badly, go join the police academy.
I think it's more a matter of defining what and what isn't legal for cops to do to a person who's not breaking the law. I'm not going to get pushed around by cops just because they have a badge- if they want to search my vehicle, they'd better have a warrant, and if they want me to stop doing whatever it is that I'm doing that's not breaking the law, they'd better have a damn good reason that doesn't encompass "We don't want you watching what we do to this guy."

If they're on the up-and-up, they have nothing to worry about me not interfering, but watching, taking pictures, etc... If not, then I'm doing a good thing by not intervering, and observing and taking pictures, etc...

Ultimately there's no good reason that I should have to go inside except in the case of shooting or other projectile violence.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 04-17-2013, 04:49 PM
newme newme is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
You have a right to watch at a safe distance and take photographs. But can you afford to vindicate that right in court when the police mistakenly decide that you do not and wish to enforce their will?
Maybe you will be the one who comes out on top in court, like these two brothers:


Quote:
The Ibarras sued Harris County and the sheriff's office in 2004, alleging their civil rights were violated when deputies stormed their home, seized their film and arrested them after one of the brothers photographed a drug raid at a neighbor's home.
The case went to trial in February, but the county agreed to pay a $1.7 million settlement — without admitting any liability or accepting any fault for what happened to the Ibarras — after a federal jury already had heard two weeks of testimony. The judge also awarded them $1.4 million in legal fees.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 04-18-2013, 10:04 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Somewhat similarly, I was in a pizza place in LA two years ago when there was a riot and the police told us if we left we'd be arrested. After about an hour most people escaped through the back door, but we waited till everything had calmed down - still a couple hundred cops around - and left by the front door. Could we really have been arrested?
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 04-18-2013, 10:09 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Win Place Show View Post
# 2 - would it be within the officers' rights to order you back inside your own house (even though you aren't "bothering anyone"
He has no right to order you back in your house, that does not mean he would not though, but a complaint against him is all you could do, unless force or such were used.


Quote:
# 3 - are you obligated to go back inside your house at that point (again, your intent is to not "bother anyone")
No, you are not obligated. The 1st AM protects freedom of movement, and the 4th prohibits him from taking action against you if you do not go back in.



-
Quote:
or is there some sort of "this is my property, and I'll stand here quietly if I want to" loophole that you can claim? What would be the charge, if you refused? Somehow "interfering with a police investigation" seems a bit of a stretch.
You have a right to watch, period, any such charge, as an example, Ohio, would not stand, and it would be false arrest if arrested for failure to comply.


2921.31 Obstructing official business.

(A) No person, without privilege to do so and with purpose to prevent, obstruct, or delay the performance by a public official of any authorized act within the public official's official capacity, shall do any act that hampers or impedes a public official in the performance of the public official's lawful duties.

Only an idiot cop would arrest for such.

Last edited by lawbuff; 04-18-2013 at 10:10 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 04-18-2013, 10:15 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
It's such a vague statute that IMHO is unconstitutionally vague. It doesn't put a citizen on notice as to what he is/ is not allowed to do.
There is a supreme court decision, forget it now, but have it in my notes, that a criminal defendant who is charged with a law that is so vague that a "reasonably prudent person" (or words of similar import) would not know he is breaking the law, can not be covicted, of course, that needs court testimony from the DF
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 04-18-2013, 10:25 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawbuff View Post
There is a supreme court decision, forget it now, but have it in my notes, that a criminal defendant who is charged with a law that is so vague that a "reasonably prudent person" (or words of similar import) would not know he is breaking the law, can not be covicted, of course, that needs court testimony from the DF
I knew it had something to do with loitering, and found it, quoting from Chicago v. Morales (1999);

..Lack of clarity in the description of the loiterer’s duty to obey a dispersal order might not render the ordinance unconstitutionally vague if the definition of the forbidden conduct were clear, but it does buttress our conclusion that the entire ordinance fails to give the ordinary citizen adequate notice of what is forbidden and what is permitted. ...
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 04-18-2013, 10:42 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 30,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
Somewhat similarly, I was in a pizza place in LA two years ago when there was a riot and the police told us if we left we'd be arrested. After about an hour most people escaped through the back door, but we waited till everything had calmed down - still a couple hundred cops around - and left by the front door. Could we really have been arrested?
In LA, you can be shot!
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 04-19-2013, 10:15 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
It's such a vague statute that IMHO is unconstitutionally vague. It doesn't put a citizen on notice as to what he is/ is not allowed to do.
I checked my notes and, I cited the wrong case I had in mind, this is it;

...We reverse the judgment against Palmer because the ordinance is so vague and lacking in ascertainable standards of guilt that, as applied to Palmer, it failed to give "a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden. . . ." United States v. Harriss, 347 U. S. 612, 347 U. S. 617 (1954)....



http://supreme.justia.com/cases/fede.../544/case.html
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 04-19-2013, 12:12 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Maryland
Posts: 26,825
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Yes, the police can order you to go back in your house. Whether or not you are legally bound to obey that order is the question. They can charge you with some kind of 'interfering' if you don't obey, and then there's the question of whether that charge is legitimate. Make your life easier, go inside and look out the window, with your cell phone camera recording everything.
If they're gonna chase me back into my house anyway, then screw the crappy cell phone camera. Even my 2006-vintage video cam has a 30x zoom.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 04-19-2013, 03:12 PM
Enuma Elish Enuma Elish is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
"SciFiSam - - Somewhat similarly, I was in a pizza place in LA two years ago when there was a riot and the police told us if we left we'd be arrested. After about an hour most people escaped through the back door, but we waited till everything had calmed down - still a couple hundred cops around - and left by the front door. Could we really have been arrested?"



Are you sure the cops didn't want you to stay there in case they got hungry while riot fighting and wanted to duck in for a quick slice?
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 04-19-2013, 03:34 PM
Suburban Plankton Suburban Plankton is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
The police can order you to do anything they want.

You can refuse to obey their orders.

They can arrest you and take you to jail.

You can hire a lawyer to have the charges dropped and your arrest record expunged.


Personally, I'd probably just take the easy way out and watch from my front room.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 04-19-2013, 03:40 PM
Enuma Elish Enuma Elish is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
A few years ago, before 9/11, I returned from work to see a swat team sneaking around the house two doors down from my house. There was a police car blocking my driveway. A cop gestured at me to get the hell out of there.

I rolled down my window, waved the cop toward me, and when he got close enough to speak with without raising my voice said: "You're blocking my driveway." He rolled his eyes, gestured me to back up a little and moved his car. I parked in my driveway and went into the house.

After changing out of my work clothes, I went out the back door and watched for awhile and then went back inside.

It turned out my neighbor was gone for the weekend and his teenage son Joe had a drinking, coke snorting, and poker party. Joe lost a lot of money at poker. He also freaked out because his girlfriend, finding out that he had a party and didn't tell her about it, threatened to break up with him. He had grabbed a shotgun, loaded it, and was threatening to shoot himself if she broke up with him.

Idiot.


Oh - the cops talked Joe into giving up the gun and noone was hurt.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.