Bricker is a purveyor of misinformation; listen to him at your own risk

Sorry. I meant ywtf.

And I interpreted your aside to me to be quite patronizing because it’s obvious to me that you don’t know my posting pattern as much as you think you do. She has said a lot of stuff on this board that I don’t agree with. I just don’t post my disagreement. She has also said stuff that I do agree with, and I also don’t say a word.

But when I feel like she isn’t getting a fair hearing, of course I will say something. I like you as a poster (you this time, not ywtf). I hope that I would be feel compelled to do the same for you.

The legal advice I’ve always seen is that citizen’s arrest is risky even in the best case scenario, and say running around CA people you see commit minor crimes in public is a great way to get in legal trouble or civilly sued. It may be legal but it is risky both practically and legally.

There are a few limited scenarios where CA is standard like merchants holding theives for police that they witnessed steal, or someone holding burglers for police.

We don’t know if it exists or not. That’s why the validity of citizens’ arrests is not determined in the court of public opinion. As to whether citizens’ arrest in the first place was relevant, that’s not what ywtf was complaining about.

I hope I’m far too insignificant to cause any family melodrama here, but what I’ve seen of you is that you’re an awesome poster who posts reasonably and interestingly on topics, especially political topics. I lack that opinion of ywtf, unfortunately. And the posts of yours that consistently stand out as the least reasonable are the ones in which you defend her arguments, arguments that look really weak to me. If you’re not doing so out of a misguided familial loyalty, my apologies; it’s genuinely what it looks like to me, and I mean no patronization by saying so.

You also have an annoying tendency to disagree with her reflexively only to later issue a mea culpa when you examine the details closer. I can link to at least one thread (and maybe it’s the only one, I don’t know) where this was the case.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have come to the defense of my sister here. And each of those times? She was vindicated.

I don’t agree with her style or delivery all the time. We don’t even post on the same threads, because we have such disparate interests. We are totally different in how we relate to the electrons on our screen, I will give you that (and you don’t have to worry about stirring sibling rivalry. We are pretty tough gals in that department).

But I don’t jump into defender mode unless I really feel that she’s not being heard. She made a mistake creating this thread while under the influence of anger, which is why I was reluctant to post here. But I totally agree with her that Bricker is being jerkish with his argumentation. If I had to be fair and balanced? I’d say both Bricker and ywtf have humongous egos and don’t like to give an inch. But I’ve seen ywtf concede to making mistakes. Bricker doesn’t humble himself nearly as much as he should, and that’s just a damn shame.

I’m still open to an explanation for why ywtf is wrong. Not in just drive-by snark, but with actual arguments.

Please do.

Since my name was invoked (I was already reading the thread, I swear), I’ll offer my two cents.

I think Florida law is indeterminate as to the scope of a valid citizen’s arrest as to a number of particulars, which is not surprising since it almost never comes up. The areas of ambiguity include what circumstances the citizen must “justify his failure to obtain a warrant by proving the person arrested was actually guilty of the felony.” See Collins v. State, 143 So. 2d 700, 703 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1962). There is also the question of whether, even when the warrant requirement does not apply, the citizen must prove that some felony has been committed (though not necessarily by the arrestee). See id. (“A private citizen does have the common law right to arrest a person who commits a felony in his presence, or to arrest a person where a felony has been committed, and where the arresting citizen has probable cause to believe, and does believe, the person arrested to be guilty.”) (emphasis added).

The answers aren’t obvious, and different states answer these questions differently. California and South Carolina definitely do not agree on whether a felony has to actually have been committed to justify a citizen’s arrest, for example.

It seems likely that both **ywtf **and **Bricker **are wrong. Bricker may be right or wrong about whether one must prove that a felony was actually committed. But even if he’s right about that, he appears to be wrong that the standard is probable cause alone (since it appears one must also subjectively believe in the guilt of the arrestee, which is not required of police officers). I’d call that a technicality though, since I don’t think this was ywtf’s point.

ywtf is probably wrong, since it would be odd for the court to say that one must “prov[e] the person arrested was actually guilty of the felony” in a particular circumstance if that requirement applied to all citizen’s arrests.

That said, it looks like Florida state courts just haven’t really worked this one out. The case I cited is the key case cited since the 1970s, and none of the subsequent cases address these questions (based on my 15 minute search).

That’ll be $889.67. You can send the check to my Paypal account.

Left Hand of Dorkness:

New “Let It Go” Rule in GD?

Also known as the horrible “one-drop rule” fiasco that shall forever be burned on my mind (which is why I still remember it).

Sorry for taking so long to get back to this thread; I’ve been consumed with work.

I know the OP is not the best written argumentation in the last; I typed it up in a rush.

The exchange started when monstro posted this:

Bricker, in classic jackass form, responded with a piece of shit.

In summary, Bricker is saying it would have been legal for Zimmerman to shoot Martin for punching him in the face, and that it would have also been legal for him to have then detained the kid rather than letting him run away. The hypothetical is limited just to the punch and does not include the head banging and other nonsense alleged by Zimmerman in actuality.

monstro and I then ask him what legal authority would give Zimmerman this “right”. And he says laws for citizen’s arrest.

For the uninitiated, Florida allows private citizens to make arrests in keeping with common law. As posted on the first page, here is the language describing the required elements for citizens arrest in FL. (Please note it’s the same damn shit linked in the OP because both CA and FL follow common law…my bad for not pointing that out).

The take-home message of this is very simple: for a citizen to make a lawful arrest not only do they need probable cause that a felony has been commited. They also need to be able to prove that the person arrested was guilty of such felony. A cop, in contrast, can make an arrest just with probable cause alone. A private citizen can not.

But Bricker feels the need to misrepresent the facts. In addition to acting as though it’s perfectly legal to use deadly force following a single act of non-deadly force–and furthermore, completely ignoring the civil rights implications of detaining a shooting victim rather than letting seek medical care right away–he persists in blatantly misinterpreting the law. This is what he wrote:

First off, note the first statement in italics (which are mine). Notice how here, he clearly recognizes that more than just probable cause is need for a CA. Hold on to this memory, because in a minute he’s going to completely act like he never said this.

Second, look at the bold sentence. This is untrue. The only way we know if a felony is committed is if someone is first formally charged with one. Furthermore, the only way an arrester proves that the person they arrested is guilty is if a judge or jury makes that determination. That’s the way it works. We can safely infer this from the law itself.

This conclusion is supported by multiple sources, too. A private citizen can’t just arrest someone who appears to be breaking into their neighbor’s house, and then, when it comes out they are in fact live there and were locked out, be immune from prosecution. The arrest would be illegal.

So after I challenge him with this post, he comes back with only more erroneous shit. Which brings him to saying this:

We all know this is wrong, because he himself posted the necessary elements for a citizens arrest earlier and it contained more than just probable cause.


So in close, I’m extremely tired of Bricker being blatantly wrong about things that no lawyer worth his degree should be screwing up. Basic shit like when a private citizen can lawfully detain someone and apply deadly force are two of those things. I have no idea if he does this because he’s incompetent or if he does it for because he wants to win at any costs, but it causes me to cringe whenever I see someone ask him for insight about the law. Misinformation about really really basic shit comes out of his keyboard way too often.

The requirement that the citizen believe in the arrestee’s guilt is irrelevant in the hypothetical Bricker discussed, since the citizen was the victim of the felony in the hypo.

ETA: ywtf, do you know what common law means? Because you seem to think it means “law shared in common”, and it doesn’t. California’s common law and Florida’s common law are not the same.

Look, ultimately my issue with Bricker is not this mess about probable cause. His insistence on this being the only necessary element of a CA is merely symptomatic of his overall jackassed habit of misinterpreting laws just to score debating points.

Rather, my issue is him flippantly declaring this…

…as “perfectly legal”, essentially ignoring all the necessary and highly improbable conditions that have to come together to make this so. One such improbable condition is the idea that a punch would be considered felony battery.

Unless you have a cite to the contrary, that’s what all the sources I’ve said about CA in the state of Florida say or imply. This is why citizen’s arrests don’t tend to be actively encouraged by LE: it sets people up for criminal and civil lawsuits if they are wrong and arrest innocent people.

It isn’t clear to me that the disagreement is limited to the hypo, as opposed to Florida’s law of citizen’s arrest generally. I was referring to the “All that is necessary to support an arrest is PROBABLE CAUSE” line.

I have a male friend who sometimes calls other males ‘sweety’ when he is condescending to them. I love it. He is Israeli, and told me in Hebrew it is ‘Motek’. Which I love even more.

That hijack out of the way, I just want to amplify one point that I think I was able to grasp…monstro seems to be saying that this OP was about a hypothetical in the original thread (which I don’t plan to read). If that is true, it may clear up a lot for those who are trying to follow along, because if this isn’t about Zimmerman, then maybe that changes things.

I really don’t know, but I just wanted to try to contribute something beyond my hijack. Plus, I think it is odd that a poster called ywtf a moron when she clearly isn’t. Whatever she is, stubborn or wrong or right or whatever, she is not a fucking moron. If it turns out that Bricker is right, well, he is a well informed fucking lawyer. It doesn’t make one a moron to be wrong to him about the fucking law.

I think you’re on less firm ground there, both because it could easily be felony battery and because it isn’t clear that a felony is required. I think **Bricker **is correct that one can generally respond with potentially lethal force to someone trying to punch you in the face, for better or worse. (Obviously, there are other elements of self-defense that must be met, depending on the state. Whether those elements were met in this particular case, including whether Zimmerman started it, is a matter for debate.)

I offered you the cite to the contrary. In one of the key cases in Florida on this subject, the Court wrote: " Even though there was time to obtain a warrant, a private citizen may make such an arrest and justify his failure to obtain a warrant by proving the person arrested was actually guilty of the felony."

The logical inference is that when there is not sufficient time, it is not necessary to do so.

And there are many reasons why law enforcement officials are more protected, having nothing to do with whether one must prove a felony. For one, officers are protected from suit even if they didn’t actually have probable cause, but they mistakenly thought they did–since probable cause is an objective inquiry.

But not irrelevant is the requirement that a felony was committed. Do you think it’s a given that a single punch to the face, possibly triggered by reasonable fear after being pursued in the dark, would be prosecuted as a felony? Because that is what Bricker is maintaining.

Christ Jesus. No I don’t think “common law” is law shared in common. While most states in the U.S. do have very similar statutes on the books for CA, “common law” has more to do where these statutes originate than anything else. A lot of this shit comes from British precedence.

What’s relevant is that when it comes to defining lawful citizen’s arrest, CA and FL share the basics.

Wow, no wonder I didn’t remember it. That’s a “tendency”?

You with the face and Monstro, think about the difference between:

  1. A person having probable cause to believe that there had been a serious crime; and

  2. A court being certain beyond a reasonable doubt that there had been a serious crime.

There is a huge gap between the degrees of certainty. A person making an arrest does not have to be anywhere near as certain as a court making a conviction.

Now let’s step back a bit and think about why this is. Society wants justice to be meted out by the courts. To effect this, alleged criminals must be brought before the court, and in serious matters in which the alleged criminal might scarper, the alleged criminal must be arrested so that the court (or other authority) can then determine if the person should be released on an interim basis or be kept locked up until the matter can be heard. Since there is never a cop when you need one, regular folks are permitted to make arrests when it appears that the matter is serious enough.

Remember that citizen’s arrest has existed long before there were police. Look back to the late mediaeval period in England, when there would be a sheriff in an area, and that’s about it. The sheriff would rely on regular folk to arrest alleged criminals. Most jurisdictions that evolved out of English law, including yours and mine, still permit this in one way or another. It is a fundamental part of our legal system.

The goal was to bring the alleged criminal before a court so that the court could sort it out. It was not up to the person making the arrest to sort it all out before making the arrest. If a person had probable cause to believe that a serious crime had been committed, that was sufficient to justify the arrest. It may have been that eventually there is no finding of guilt, and the alleged criminal went free, but that did not invalidate the arrest.

Now let’s fast forward to Florida today. The common law stands in Florida except when trumped by statute law. There is nothing in Florida statute law that addresses citizen’s arrest, so the common law still applies. To find the common law on citizen’s arrest as it is applied in Florida, you should look at decisions in Florida court cases, not statute laws from other states. The leading case on citizen’s arrest in Florida is COLLINS v. STATE, 143 So.2d 700 at 793, (1962), No. 2715, District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, in which the court found that: “A private citizen does have the common law right to arrest a person who commits a felony in his presence, or to arrest a person where a felony has been committed, and where the arresting citizen has probable cause to believe, and does believe, the person arrested to be guilty.”

Note that the test with respect to felony citizen’s arrest is “probable cause to believe.” This test does not require that a felony had to have actually taken place.

You will recall that you quoted Bricker as stating “If the conflict began with Martin punching Zimmerman . . . .” Now let’s apply the common law on citizen’s arrest in Florida to this statement. If a conflict begins by person A punching person B, by any reasonable interpretation, one would think that there is probable cause to believe that there has been a felony. It may be that there was not a felony, but that is up to the court to determine. If the conflict began with Zimmerman punching Martin, then there would have been reasonable grounds for Zimmerman to be arrested. If the conflict began with Martin punching Zimmerman, then there would have been reasonable grounds for Martin to be arrested.

Of course in any given matter, and certainly in this one, there may be evidentiary problems that could invalidate the assertion that there had been reasonable cause to believe that a felony had been committed, but Bricker’s statement was a hypothetical used to illustrate the law. As you yourself quoted, “If the conflict began with . . . .” Bricker, as you cited him, did not assert that the conflict had or had not begun with a punch by Marin. All that he set out was a hypothetical, no different than my using person A and person B in my hypothetical.

Rather than recognizing Bricker’s hypothetical for what it was, you with the face went on a tear based on law that simply does not apply in Florida, and even then did not make much sense in attempting to apply it, and Monstro then continued the groundless attack.

Now that you have the common law on citizen’s arrest in Florida before you, and now that it has been explained to you, I hope the two of you will apologize to past-defence lawyer Bricker for giving him such a hard time despite his being entirely correct.

If you have other ongoing concerns about Bricker, then by all means raise them in another pit thread, but as far as this particular thread and the concerns set out by you with the face in post number one, your allegation that Bricker is “100% wrong” is in fact one-hundred percent wrong, so please own up to your error and move on.

“Could easily be” is different than is. To declare outright that a punch is felony battery is to divorce the punch completely from the circumstances leading up to it and pronounce it a crime, even though in reality, the trier-of-fact would never reach a determination without the benefit of hearing both sides. And considering whether the punch was provoked.

And why do you think this? If this is true, then what would be considered excessive force in your view? Responding to a punch with a nuclear warhead?

I know this is an e-how article, but come on.

Of course. Which is why its wrong to flatly say his hypothetical conduct was legal.

Okay, but you still haven’t challenged my point that the citizen’s arrest needs to lead to formal arrest to be lawful. This is the issue that Bricker said that I fabricated.

In the absence of a formal arrest (i.e., because the cops disagree that there was adequate probable cause that a crime was committed), the citizen’s arrest becomes unlawful.

Oh, and now that I’ve caught up with the last page of the thread, please ensure that you pay Richard Parker $889.67 for researching the law for you. :wink:

You know, it would be a really good thing if you stopped relying on ehow for your legal information. Just sayin’ . . . .