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Appeals court: Police can't hold someone cited for infraction

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  • Appeals court: Police can't hold someone cited for infraction

    Appeals court: Police can't hold someone cited for infraction

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Police in California may not take into custody someone cited for a mere infraction unless the person lacks identification or refuses to sign a written promise to appear in court or provide a fingerprint, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

    The decision by the U.S. 9thCircuit Court of Appeals clears the way for a man arrested for trespassing to obtain financial compensation from San Francisco for being hauled to the police station and searched before being released.

    An infraction, which is less serious than a misdemeanor, is punishable by a fine and does not appear on a criminal record.

    Wednesday's ruling stemmed from the 2000 arrest of Erris Edgerly after San Francisco police spotted him standing inside a playground near a housing project where he did not live. The fenced playground had “No Trespassing” signs at each entrance.

    The police did a pat-down search and then took Edgerly to a police station, where he was searched again. No contraband was found, and police released him with a citation for trespassing. He was never prosecuted for the alleged offense.

    Edgerly sued San Francisco and its Police Department for false arrest and an illegal search in violation of his civil rights. A district judge ruled that Edgerly’s arrest was proper, and a jury determined he had not been strip-searched.

    In overturning the lower court’s decision on the arrest, a three-judge 9th Circuit panel said California’s penal code does not permit someone to be taken into custody for an infraction unless the person lacks identification or refuses to sign a paper to appear in court or provide a fingerprint.

    The ruling, written by Judge Raymond C. Fisher, directed the district court to permit Edgerly to have his claim for damages heard by a jury.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...,6974446.story

    So, it appears an infraction arrest is no longer allowed? Is that what the 9th circuit is saying??
    The RANGER God cried from above
    Lightning flashed from the darkened sun
    Hailstones fell and the earth did mourn
    It was a solem day for all Airborne
    June 2001 will be
    A tragic piece of RANGER history
    Time stood still on that cursed day
    Cuz legs were donning black berets

  • #2
    Whe did trespassing become an infraction?
    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

    Comment


    • #3
      Last I read, trespassing (PC 602 et. al) was a misdemeanor.

      http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...&file=594-625c
      My comments are my personal opinion and are based on my life experiences and training. They are not to be construed as legal advice in any form as I am not an attorney. Should you act on any of the information I provide in my comments, you do so at your own risk!!

      Comment


      • #4
        yeah. All this is going to do is create more misdemeanors. If an officer has the option of going either way with it, they will favor the misdemeanor on the side of caution.

        9th Circus....that's for sure.

        Comment


        • #5
          I wouldn't be too concerned about it. SCOTUS will just end up overturning it. Like almost every other 9th Cir case.
          Other officer: Oh that's right, I forgot, you're God's gift to police work.
          Me: At least someone recognizes it.

          Turns out basic police work isn't so hard, you just have to leave the station.

          Comment


          • #6
            So does this mean I don't have to write tickets anymore?
            "For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." Romans 13:4

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes. 602 is still a misd, I believe the writer had left out some detail of the story. I was basically just going off the 9ths decision of infraction does not equal custody/arrest. I kick on tomorrow, see how one goes.
              The RANGER God cried from above
              Lightning flashed from the darkened sun
              Hailstones fell and the earth did mourn
              It was a solem day for all Airborne
              June 2001 will be
              A tragic piece of RANGER history
              Time stood still on that cursed day
              Cuz legs were donning black berets

              Comment


              • #8
                Here it is: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastor...0/11-15655.pdf

                They arrested him for a misdo, 602(l). The judges decided they didn't have enough for 602(l), but did for 6028, which is an infraction, so they based their so-called thinking on that. Amazing. They just make **** up when it isn't there.
                Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by chiefjack View Post
                  Last I read, trespassing (PC 602 et. al) was a misdemeanor.

                  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...&file=594-625c
                  Yeah.... I was gonna say. Because if thats the case Im going to have a whole line of false arrest civil suits stacking up after the past 15 years.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    State statute is, no doubt, a misdemeanor which can put one in jail.

                    BUT, I'm wondering if he was rolled up and cited on a SF CITY violation, which the city would want prosecuted at the city level, so they can get any/all fines????
                    "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                    Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                    Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I question the 9th Circuit's ruling.

                      As I read the opinion in this case, I couldn't help but think Atwater v. City of Lago Vista was controlling.

                      Indeed, even the 9th Circuit, in Tatum v. City and County of San Francisco, observed that: "[a]n officer who observes criminal conduct may arrest the offender without a warrant, even if the pertinent offense carries only a minor penalty."

                      The 9th Circuit puts great weight in their interpretation of arrest and booking procedures under California law, but I wonder how applicable that is. A 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim is a remedy for a violation of a federal constitutional or statutory right.

                      Even if the arrest did not comport with California statutes, Atwater and Tatum should make clear that the arrest was not a seizure giving rise to a Fourth Amendment violation. Without that, I'm not sure where the liability is supposed to attach.

                      I don't do civil rights law though, so this is pure pontification.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wildlife97
                        The way the court ruled is basically what Washington State law says. In WA you can't arrest for infractions. In fact up until last year the only time you could check for wants/warrants after someone committed an infraction was for traffic infractions. Last year the legislature passed a law saying you can check for warrants for people that have committed natural resource infractions (minor fish, wildlife, and parks violations.) However civil infractions such as drinking in public and smoking marijuana in public all you can do is cite them, no running for warrants, etc.

                        Also effective around 2006 officers no longer ask for signatures on infraction or criminal citations. All you do is check a box on the citation that says "served on violator."
                        WTF? Here we can run anyone for warrants. The warrants in many counties are on the internet and can be run by anyone online. Everyone I stop is ran for warrants. I would look pretty dumb if I was giving a guy a ticket and he had a murder warrant and I let him walk.

                        I like the no signature thing though, that and court dates we should get rid of.

                        I'm not too worried about anything from the 9th circuit until it's final.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          WA STATE v. RIFE

                          There were two issues here - The first was that the stop reeked of being pretextual, which is illegal in this state. Had he started filling out a citation, or had even eventually issued him one in addition to the narcotics charge, this would not have been an issue. The second is that the officer provided poor articulation for his actions, relying upon the "I always do it this way" justification.

                          On any stop for an infraction, RCW 46.61.021 specifically allows us to "detain that person for a reasonable period of time necessary to identify the person, check the status of the person's license, insurance identification card, and the vehicle's registration, and complete and issue a notice of traffic infraction." Additionally, the detained subject "has a duty to identify himself [and] give his current address."

                          On any pedestrian stop, the bold-face type applies.

                          You may take any and all reasonable steps to positively identify the individual, to include running a computer check with radio in order to confirm that the information printed on the hard copy license that was provided to you is legitimate information, and not something that was printed in the subject's basement.

                          Oh, darn it... radio ran him for warrants at the same time they ran his license status.

                          It's similar to how we are able to search cars without a warrant in our state... you can still do it, you just have to be able to articulate it better than "because".
                          Last edited by KCSO Cop; 04-13-2013, 01:31 PM.

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