Have citizens arrests ever resulted in trials?

As long as we have a couple of law folks here: Since actually seeing a crime happen seems to be the most common point in theses laws, what happens if I walk out my front door and I see my neighbor is trying to hold on to a guy on a bike. My neighbor tells me the guy is stealing his bike (let’s say this is true) and asks if I will help him. Since I didn’t witness the crime and wouldn’t recognize my neighbors bike if he ran me over with it, is my best option just to say no and offer to call the police? Any chance I could get in legal trouble for helping my neighbor? How about a civil suit?

If the last couple of days of coordinated thefts involving dozens of people hitting one store at the same time continue, shoplifting will probably seem a quaint tradition.

I believe the detention of airline passengers for disregarding crew instructions is a federal offense. The flight crew is making an arrest and turning the individual over to authorities once on the ground. I would expect the detention is a citizen’s arrest.

I’m curious, no argument just curious.

I drove a delivery truck as one of my first jobs. One morning there had been minor street flooding in downtown San Mateo. I saw a cop and asked if I could go in and make my delivery. He pointed to a line of cars and said I should wait over there. I waited for a while and he came up and gave me a ticket for passing a police barrier (a saw horse on the side of the road). Then he let me go ahead and make my delivery.

When he said wait over there, he detained me. Was I under arrest.

Do you think you’re under arrest any time a police officer pulls you over?

Were you understanding that you could not just turn around and leave? Then you were detained.

That is not the same as a formal arrest (IANAL, IANALEO) but I understand they need reasonable grounds to believe you have committed an “arrestable” crime, or that an excessively long “detain” turns into an arrest. “Detain” is for example when they ask you to wait while they run your license, or write a ticket, or whatever. Obviously you cannot leave, but it’s not an arrest and it should only be long enough for the task they need to do. (There have been cases where the officer “detained” a person long enough for the canine unit to coincidentally arrive. IIRC - The judge ruled that 20 minutes or more for writing a ticket was unreasonable, this was an arrest without reasonable cause, so the whole case was thrown out…)

Yes, I understood I was to get in line and wait. I was waiting for an answer to my question. He had me waiting to receive a citation. So, he gave each driver a citation then waved him on to to to his place of business. I was delivering live brine shrimp to the tropical fish store.

Anyway I remember a cop showing up in Alameda to give me a summons to appear in court. I told the judge I just drove up to the cop to ask if the area was clear and after he wrote the citation he let me continue into the area. The judge asked if I had passed the sawhorse. I said yes and it cost me $20 when gas was $4 a tank.

I assume I was detained.

This seems like an odd set up… was the placement and meaning of the barrier obvious, like jutting out into the lane and including the words “DO NOT ENTER / ROAD CLOSED, POLICE DEPT XYZ” with flashing lights, or was it some dinky little saw horse painted orange and black with no instructions sitting in the gutter not blocking traffic, like you see in so many construction zones?

The barrier didn’t seem effective in stopping people if there was a line of cars that had passed it. Wouldn’t the cop have pulled it out into the street, or have been standing there in the road signaling cars to stop? Also, why was the cop just hanging around writing tickets for passing the barrier, then allowing people to keep going past it? Didn’t seem like they really wanted to keep people out, so why the barrier in the first place?

Did you think that, if you chose not to wait for an answer and, say, go get lunch and try again later, you could do that?

I don’t know. The saw horse may have had some tape on it, but the scene was casual. Any flood water was long gone and obviously it was only people who had business there. And, why was the cop, the only guy who knew what was going on, inside the barrier rather than outside the barrier?

I was just a kid and did what I was told. Especially by a cop.

That is very much dependent on the state. What you wrote was pretty much what the judge in the Aubrey case instructed the jury with regards to the citizens arrest statute. The force used has to be reasonable and proportional. That particular law in Georgia was in place at the time and has since been repealed because of that case.

When the cop said ‘wait over there’ it was reasonable and proportional. It will be interesting to see how the Aubrey jury interprets it.

So now Georgians are allowed to use unreasonable and disproportionate force in making citizens’ arrests?

No, they’re not allowed to make citizen’s arrests.

Here’s an article about the repeal, and the new, more limited citizen’s arrest law:

You haven’t got the facts quite right. The householder hit the burglar with a bat while the burglar was in his house, and the burglar was holding a weapon (a spanner, but that’s not just a weapon in Cluedo, the big ones can kill people). The householder did chase the burglar out of the house but he didn’t beat him up there, or even touch him once he was out of the house. The police were the ones who arrested the burglar.

It’s not really surprising that the householder wasn’t charged for hitting an armed intruder inside his house.

But in any case he didn’t arrest the guy or attempt to, he just hit him.