Tresspassing on property you own

There is a certain amount of recreational outrage to this, but I figured it was too lame for The Pit.

Man arrested for tresspassing on his own property.

Sorry, got that from the Drudge Report, and I can’t get to it now without a login.

ETA: I flushed my cache and deleted cookies, so I can get to it now. YMMV.

You can get arrested for all kinds of things. That doesn’t mean you are guilty of them; the judge may throw it out.

But, it does sound like he should have been charged with something else. It also sounds like a can of worms, regarding the status of the easement.

Harpo Marx said in his autobiography that he was once arrested for impersonating Harpo Marx.

For those who don’t want to register with the Duluth Whatever:


Which why I’m guessing that it’s confronting the work crew while in possession of a hunting rifle that got him arrested, regardless of the actual charge.

Now, I don’t know all the facts of the case, but I think the Superior police department may have behaved stupidly.

I missed the part in the story where he had his gun in his hand. In the vehicle would be a different thing altogether. I also kind of wonder why an officer would approach with his Taser out if the guy was holding a rifle–that doesn’t seem like a good idea.

In fact, it pretty much proves they didn’t actually think there was a danger of him using it. And I doubt, in that jurisdiction, that brandishing a gun is illegal in that situation–they would have arrested him for that if they could.

The trespassing charge was because the utility company had established a work zone on his property. So he was trespassing in the work zone not trespassing on his property, even though the two were the same piece of ground at the time. And that seems like a reasonable idea - a work zone is an unsafe area to have people moving around in and it’s reasonable to ban people from entering it. Is this any different from the fire department prohibiting you from entering your home when it’s on fire?

Not sure about Wisconsin law, but in Virginia, I think the guy would be safe. A defendant who can show a bona fide claim of right as an affirmative defense is not guilty of trespass. “[A] bona fide claim of right is a sincere, although perhaps mistaken, good faith belief that one has some legal right to be on the property. The claim need not be one of title or ownership, but it must rise to the level of authorization.” (Quoting Reed v. Commonwealth, 6 Va. App. 65 (1988)).

Why the heck was his ATV impounded?

I Googled ‘Jeremy Engelking’ just now, and saw nothing new. Anyone know how things went with the judge?

Does the decision make the distinction between somebody who is unaware of a law and somebody who disputes the validity of that law? It appears Engelking had been disputing Enbridge’s access to his land. This would appear to make it difficult for him to argue he was unaware that they were asserting a legal claim to be on his property. But if Engelking is allowed to base his defense of a supposed “sincere good faith belief” that the law, while it exists, is wrong then how can any trespassing law hold up in a Virginia court?