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  • 3rd party tickets?

    This question was posed to me in my procedural law course and I have been having trouble finding the answers where I can back them up with statutes or the penal code or something to varify conduct.

    Is it ok for an officer to write a citation such as "following to closely" Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1008(1) if the officer does not witness the alleged offense but a civilian witnessed the offense and signs a complaint?

    I've looked through all my class material and I can't find anything that directly or indirectly addresses this. I do know that an officer can for example arrive after the occurance of an accident and cite someone for say failure to control speed or other such offenses based on having p.c. based on the condition of the vehicles and the skid marks etc....

    I'm almost going cross eyed trying to find the answer.....

    Thanks for your help

    Seth

  • #2
    Can't tell you about CO, but in KY an officer has to witness the violation or misdemeanor (there are a few exceptions) in order to cite or arrest.

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    • #3
      I was wondering if it was a trick question, but if I don't have a statute or something to PROVE that its a trick question I still get it wrong lol....

      Thanks for the information though sir.

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      • #4
        Look under the arrest authority sections of your local state laws.
        Today's Quote:

        "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
        Albert Einstein

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        • #5
          I don't have to witness a traffic infraction to cite for it in Indiana, and no one has to sign the UTT but me. May want to ask in the Colorado section, as I'm sure this varies from state to state.
          I miss you, Dave.
          http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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          • #6
            If some citizen says that he saw you doing something very stupid in your car, I can write you the ticket and have the citizen sign it. Just like he wants to sign a disorderly conduct NTA against you for something he witnessed before I arrived.

            HAVING SAID THAT...the citizen would then be required to show up to court and testify against you, (just like I would if you plead not guilty).

            I would have to write a report though and take the citizens statement, (paperwork-YUK), so I would rather just chew the guys "a" - double "s" and let him know that you have that power so he better quit driving like an a-hole, because you never know whos watching. If he's a dik to me then I would probably encourage the citizen to sign a ticket if he feels that the subjects actions were illegal or went against a traffic ordinance and wants to "do somethin' about it".

            Ive never had it happen, yet, though, as far as traffic goes.
            "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
            The Tick

            "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"
            sanitizer

            "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
            Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief

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            • #7
              Unless it's posted somewhere on the net, he will probably need a CO officer to respond. In TN, we can allow civilian witnesses to sign as prosecutor on our traffic cites. I've done it before. The witness will have to attend court and it will be his word against the violator's, but it can be done.
              I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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              • #8
                You will probably have to look to case law to find what you need.

                In California, Section 839 of the Penal Code says, "Any person making an arrest may orally summon as many persons as he deems necessary to aid him therein." Case law in connection with this section says that, implicit with someone's ability to be summoned, is their right to make an arrest, just as if the crime was committed in their presence, even though it wasn't. So in other words, this allows an officer to cite a person for a crime witnessed by someone else who is willing to sign a complaint.

                In the case of civilians, this usually occurs when someone makes a citizen's arrest. They don't have to utter the magic words "citizen's arrest"" to whoever they are arresting. They just sign the citizen's arrest card and the officer makes the arrest on their behalf pursuant to 839 of the Penal Code and issues the citation. Similarly, when an officer in a helicopter sees a violation and asks a ground unit to arrest the suspect, or a city PD unit spots a DUI on the freeway and turns it over to the Highway Patrol, it all falls under 839 PC.

                Now in all fairness, in my 33 years on the job I only saw this done twice when it came to traffic enforcement. Both cases were 40 years ago when the same individual insisted on making citizen's arrests for separate reckless driving incidents in a small town. Because our state law prohibits us from refusing to receive a prisoner in a citizen's arrest, we had no choice but to write the citation once he signed the citizen's arrest card.
                Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                • #9
                  In Colo, the witness makes a complaint and the Officer then issues a ticket for the infraction based on that complaint. Most violations involve running School bus lights ect. Following too closely LOL probably not, but maybe.

                  Prosecution is then up to the Witness/complainant who usually doesn't have a clue about the prosecution phase

                  Really no different than a barking dog who is silent when the Officer shows up.

                  Not Criminal...........an Infraction.......
                  "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


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                  • #10
                    My question is where does obtaining articulable facts to lead to probable cause come into play when the informant could in fact simply lie through his teeth and still the peace officer would cite?

                    The police officer must have articulable facts leading to his probable cause to stop the vehicle, why would the informant not be held to the same standard?

                    Furthermore, police officers go through much academic training in regard to the definition of, application of, and enforcement of the law. Who is to say that the informant has sufficient knowledge of the law as it applys to traffic offenses and can apply such knowledge well enough to be a credible witness to write a citation. I can only imagine that most civilians don't have a clue what Title 42 is of the C.R.S. let alone the statute for following to closely 42-4-1008. Furthermore, I woulg be willing to bet that most civilians have no clue what 42-4-1008 says or the definitions of the terms used as they apply to law, and yet an officer can still cite a person based on their testament?

                    By the way thanks so much for the replies, its kind of an extra credit question, and I really want to get this one for the class.

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                    • #11
                      It depends on the statutes in your state. It also will depend on the state's definitions of and under what conditions a LEO can charge or arrest for misdemeanors and traffic infractions etc. For example does the violation have to happen in the LEO's presence and or immedeate knowledge etc. and if it's criminal or not. While I can issue a citation for "Following too Close" based on my invetsigation (e.g. the front end of vehicel 1 struck the rear end of vehicle 2) at an accident scene. I could not issue a citation for speeding if I feel speed was a factor in the accident. One of the requirements for a speeding citation is tracking history, if useing a speed measuring device, or pacing the vehicle with a patrol car that has a certified accurate speedometer (which I can't do if I wasn't present at the time of the accident). As for "following too close" I can prove that vehicle 1 was following vehicle 2 at an unsafe distance because vehicle 1 struck vehicle 2. Had vehicle 1 been following vehicle 2 at a safe distance, vehicle 1 would have not struck vehicle 2.

                      So to answer your question you will have to read the pertinent state laws regarding your scenario. Also keep in mind that some terms have different meanings in different sections of your state's statutes. You may learn that the legislature may have defind common terms in one section of the law but may give it a slightly different meaning in another statute.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seth0687 View Post
                        My question is where does obtaining articulable facts to lead to probable cause come into play when the informant could in fact simply lie through his teeth and still the peace officer would cite?

                        The police officer must have articulable facts leading to his probable cause to stop the vehicle, why would the informant not be held to the same standard?

                        Furthermore, police officers go through much academic training in regard to the definition of, application of, and enforcement of the law. Who is to say that the informant has sufficient knowledge of the law as it applys to traffic offenses and can apply such knowledge well enough to be a credible witness to write a citation. I can only imagine that most civilians don't have a clue what Title 42 is of the C.R.S. let alone the statute for following to closely 42-4-1008. Furthermore, I woulg be willing to bet that most civilians have no clue what 42-4-1008 says or the definitions of the terms used as they apply to law, and yet an officer can still cite a person based on their testament?

                        By the way thanks so much for the replies, its kind of an extra credit question, and I really want to get this one for the class.
                        This will depend on the laws of your state. In my state I generaly can not stop a vehicle because Jane Citizen said that vehicle was violating a traffic law. I can, however, investigate (e.g. following the vehicle and look for a violation of the traffic law) and then determine if PC exists to justify stopping the vehicle.

                        Dealing with informants and tipsters is a bit different. Read Aguilar-Spinelli v. US (2 prong test) and Illinois v. Gates (totallity of the circumstances).

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                        • #13
                          In "theory" you could do that in Alabama, but I can't personally recall it ever being done, at least in relation to a traffic violation. OTH, citizens routinely "sign warrants" on other citizens. This procedure is tentamount to a "citizen's arrest". It would be employed by say, the LP personnel at a retail store, similar situations. The basic procedure is for the citizen to go to a Magistrate,and complete the Affidavit for a Warrant. If the Magistrate is satisfied that a crime has been commited, he/she will issue an Arrest Warrant, returnable to the Court having jurisdiction in the case. The court would be Municipal (City) or District (County)

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                          • #14
                            Police do NOT NEED probable cause to stop a vehicle. They need a REASONABLE SUSPICION to stop it. It's less of a standard than probable cause, but still a valid standard.

                            I agree that most citizens may not be able to quote statute/traffic ordinance #s, but anyone who has been driving knows that changing lanes abruptly, without a signal, cutting people off, speeding, etc is an infraction.

                            Now, I dont give much credence to citizens who tell me that a driver was "doin 80" on his residential street. Unles they have a radar speed measuring instrument, they really dont know how fast the driver was going, but do know that he was speeding.
                            "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
                            The Tick

                            "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"
                            sanitizer

                            "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
                            Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by seth0687 View Post
                              My question is where does obtaining articulable facts to lead to probable cause come into play when the informant could in fact simply lie through his teeth and still the peace officer would cite?

                              The police officer must have articulable facts leading to his probable cause to stop the vehicle, why would the informant not be held to the same standard?
                              Now you have changed the dynamics of the situation quite a bit. By the time a citizen flags down an officer, explains what he saw, describes the violation, states that he wants to make a citizens arrest, points out which way the suspect vehicle went and asks the officer to go after him, the other driver is going to be so far away that no officer in his right mind is going to try and find him. So now you have painted an unrealistic scenario. In your initial description I assumed (my bad) that the person making the citizen's arrest had already stopped and detained the other driver.

                              But to answer your original questions, yes, facts are obtained in California. And if It appears they do not support the charge we have a separate section of law, Section 849(b) of the Penal Code, that says when someone makes a citizen's arrest, the officer may release the person arrested if he is satisfied that there are insufficient grounds for making a criminal complaint.
                              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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