Georgia Repeals Citizen's Arrest Law

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Craig_VA, May 11, 2021.

  1. Craig_VA
    • Contributing Member

    Craig_VA Contributing Member

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    The governor of Georgia signed a law repealing their citizen's arrest statute. Details and more are in the 5/10/21 AP article
    Georgia Gov. Kemp signs repeal of 1863 citizen’s arrest law
    [Note that AP's auto-corrupt feature misquoted Governor Kemp with “This bill makes Georgia the first state in the country to repeal its citizen’s arrest statue [sic],”
    Recent THR threads on the topic of citizen's arrest include
    What is exactly is "Citizen's Arrest? [closed]
    Very bad tactics... [closed]

    According to the article,
    "Under the repeal bill, people who are mere bystanders or witnesses generally no longer have the right to detain people. Deadly force can’t be used to detain someone unless it’s in self-protection, protecting a home, or preventing a forcible felony. The changes retain Georgia’s “stand your ground” law, which says a person who is being threatened isn’t required to retreat.
    "It still allows business employees to detain people they believe stole something, and lets restaurant employees detain people who try to leave without paying for a meal. It also lets licensed security guards and private detectives detain people."


    I question the article's claim that the new law modifies SYG legality. I have never understood a "no duty to retreat" law also allowing for detaining anyone.

    Moderators, please move this thread to either Legal or Strategies, Tactics, and Training if it belongs there rather than in General.

    Craig
     
  2. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Not really repealed, but modified. We still have the right to detain suspects. It's just that the circumstances are more clearly defined.
     
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  3. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    The article doesn't claim the SYG is modified by the law's revision, only that SYG remains in place.
     
  4. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Business and restaurant people, licensed guards, and private detectives may detain people for specific reasons .
     
  5. drband

    drband Member

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    You can detain if you are personally threatened by a person committing an illegal act. You can not detain to “enforce” a law in which you are not being threatened.
    It’s still murky— better to steer clear in most circumstances. It’s in response to the Ahmad Arbery murder trial.

    Edit: I would encourage a direct reading of the text of the law when it becomes available (and the referenced code paragraphs that deal with circumstances that make detention by a citizen legal). I am unsure of where to find all the documents, but will keep looking. My choice of words may not have been the most accurate, but there does seem to be some allowances made for detention by a citizen.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  6. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    So if someone breaks in your house and murders your dog and your wife if you aren't personally threatened you can't detain them?
     
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  7. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Where did you get that idea?

    That has never been lawful in any of rhe other forty-nine states or any if the territories.

    Such is the case in Georgia.
     
  8. drband

    drband Member

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    I will read the law again...

    I'm having trouble getting the full text of the new law... but found this. It is a better explanation than what I previously typed.

    from the ABCnews on line article: Under the repeal bill, people who are mere bystanders or witnesses generally no longer have the right to detain people. Deadly force can't be used to detain someone unless it’s in self-protection, protecting a home, or preventing a forcible felony. The changes retain Georgia’s “stand your ground” law, which says a person who is being threatened isn’t required to retreat. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/gov-kemp-set-repeal-georgias-1863-citizens-arrest-77601118

    The "self-protection" point is what I was referring to. If anyone can find a link to the text of the new law, I would appreciate it. So far, I can only find the summary (posted here) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59726

    Some clarification is needed(see text above--my underline added)... I'm not a lawyer, and I'm unsure of how amendments to the criminal code or arrest guidelines are actually stated and interpreted. Obviously, the news report linked above indicates there is allowance for detention in some cases by private citizens in certain circumstances, but not by citizens that are not directly involved in the prescribed manner written in the law (or code). I would like to see the text and have it made clear what is or is not legally acceptable.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  9. drband

    drband Member

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    After reading (and re-reading) the GA code concerning deadly force here: http://ga.elaws.us/law/16-3|2

    I conclude that I can't tell if detention is specifically allowed when deadly force is allowed (in self-defense or to prevent injury or other specified harms). What I do understand is that ARREST by a regular citizen is now stricken from the law ( GA code). Detention does not seem to be the same term as "arrest," so a gray area remains (in my mind--for sure). In fact, "detention" is not mentioned in the GA code or the new law.

    Stronger minds will have to figure this one out for me.
     
  10. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    If someone murdered my wife and my dog I’m guessing I would also feel personally threatened.
     
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  11. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    "Citizen arrest" doesn't happen here often, but suspected burglars have been "detained" at gunpoint by homeowners for arrest by responding officers. In fact I have seen no mention of citizen's arrests in local papers.

    Then this in this morning's paper:

    From staff reports, "Suspect in custody in Orebank murder", Kingsport Times-News, 13 May 2021, p.A3
    "... Sullivan County deputies arrived at the scene and located the female suspect, who was being detained with the help of bystanders. She was immediately taken into custody by deputies ...."

    No mention of the bystanders being armed.
     
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  12. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    The original Georgia citizen arrest law was standing from 1863 without modification? The description of the reformAct includes the note it clarifies conflicts between various Georgia laws. AP usually has an anti-gun spin on anything remotely related to guns or self defense, so I am not surprised if they were making more of it than is there.

    Question: where was the case of the two men (father and son as I recall) who took it on themselves to citizen's arrest or detain at gun point a stranger jogging in their neighborhood and it ended badly? Is this a reaction to that?
     
  13. GNP

    GNP Member

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    Yes, that incident seems to have led directly to this.
     
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