You’re Under Citizen’s Arrest!

Wait, is citizen’s arrest really a thing??

Well, yes. But be careful with that…

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §13-3884 states:

13-3884. Arrest by private person

A private person may make an arrest:

  1. When the person to be arrested has in his presence committed a misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace, or a felony.
  2. When a felony has been in fact committed and he has reasonable ground to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it.

So it has to be a misdemeanor that breached the peace or a felony and you know who did it.

I.W.W. Deportations 1917 “Striker Resisting Arrest”

A.R.S. §3889 requires you to announce the arrest…unless you don’t have to:

13-3889. Method of arrest by private person

A private person when making an arrest shall inform the person to be arrested of the intention to arrest him and the cause of the arrest, unless he is then engaged in the commission of an offense, or is pursued immediately after its commission or after an escape, or flees or forcibly resists before the person making the arrest has opportunity so to inform him, or when the giving of such information will imperil the arrest.

Photograph of the fingerprints of Ernesto Miranda from his booking sheet, Phoenix Police, Phoenix (Ariz.)

Clear enough?
No. Not at all.

There’s more:

13-3900. Duty of private person after making arrest

A private person who has made an arrest shall without unnecessary delay take the person arrested before the nearest or most accessible magistrate in the county in which the arrest was made, or deliver him to a peace officer, who shall without unnecessary delay take him before such magistrate. The private person or officer so taking the person arrested before the magistrate shall make before the magistrate a complaint, which shall set forth the facts showing the offense for which the person was arrested. If, however, the officer cannot make the complaint, the private person who delivered the person arrested to the officer shall accompany the officer before the magistrate and shall make to the magistrate the complaint against the person arrested.

Photograph of a group of prisoners in striped uniforms at the Arizona State Prison in Florence (Ariz.)

So, next you need to take the person you arrested to an officer and explain what happened. Then, you need to explain it to the judge. Apparently you shouldn’t make a citizen’s arrest if you’re in a hurry.

Arizona Code 1939

Or angry.

The Arizona Attorney General interpreted the provisions in Attorney General Opinion I85-048. It concluded that a citizen making an arrest could be charged with a crime or be sued for false arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery, negligence, and violation of civil rights. The opinion notes that the provisions have been applied to the actions of security guards and law enforcement outside their jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, the provisions remain a part of Arizona law, where they’ve been since 1939 (Arizona Code §44-125). It seems that this law isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

 

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Researching the Old Legal Stuff

YaleWe recently purchased The Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History, a new resource to help you find historical legal information that is very specialized or pre-dates the information that is readily available online. Some of the resources are digitized, and some only in print. It is available to use in the Reading Room at the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building.

For example, if you are looking for the laws on witchcraft, this source tells you step-by-step how to find them. Witchcraft was originally designated as a felony in the United Kingdom and carried the death penalty. Later revisions passed by Queen Elizabeth I reduced the severity of the penalty if nobody got hurt. This change enabled herbalists to practice their craft. Maybe this was the origin of the No Harm, No Foul standard.

Yale TOC

Later chapters address later eras. Apparently practice manuals were widely used in the Colonial era by justices, officials, and educated citizens. Some states had constitutions that predated the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and this reference has information on both, as well information on how to access statutes and cases from the early days of the Republic. Later chapters explain how the Reporter system for publishing case law was a pioneering innovation, how to do archival research, searching administrative law, and the advent of legal forms.

 

DictionariesAnother chapter discusses how international law and treaties affect U.S. law. Another introduces the use of dictionaries and biographical sources. The book concludes with tips for researching newspapers, statistical resources, and public records.

If you don’t know where to find the historical legal topic you are researching, we may just look here first!

Arizona’s Ever-Changing Constitution

What’s with all these propositions?

Arizona’s Constitution can be amended in 3 ways. The Legislature may vote to put a proposal on the ballot (Referendum). Second, the voters may submit a petition with the required number of signatures (Initiative).  Regardless of the means of getting on the ballot, if a majority votes for the proposition, it becomes law and the Constitution is changed. The 3rd method is for the Legislature to propose a Constitutional Convention. In that case, the voters must approve the Convention and any revisions that the Convention recommends. These routes to change our Constitution make for some vibrant, interactive, and often rowdy election cycles!

At the State of Arizona Research Library we have lots of materials about the Arizona Constitution. You can browse the Minutes or the Records of the Constitutional Convention of 1910.

 

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You can compare the Arizona Constitution with the U.S. Constitution with these publications from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

You can see how the Arizona Constitution has changed over the years at our Constitution Timeline here.

You can study the work of experts who have analyzed the Constitution by viewing these titles (and more) in our Reading Room or borrowing them through your public library via interlibrary loan. The Toni McClory book is also available for free as an ebook through Reading Arizona!

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And you can vote! There are 3 proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot for the 2018 midterm election on November 6, 2018.  Here’s the publicity pamphlet for this year’s General Election.

Arizona’s Territorial Legislature

Arizona’s Legislature met to debate the issues of the day and pass laws, long before Arizona became a state. The Legislature met in Prescott between 1864 and 1867, and again between 1879 and 1889. In between they met in Tucson, before settling in to Phoenix in 1891 to stay.

We have copies of the enacted laws (“Session Laws”) passed by the Territorial Legislature dating from 1864 until Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. We were the “Valentine to the Nation”. We also have copies of the Session Laws passed since Statehood, which you can research in print in our Reading Room or browse online on the Arizona Memory Project here.

Session LawsWe think it’s vital to preserve these irreplaceable materials. We keep a print copy that is accessible to users. We also make digital copies of everything we can, and post them online so people can access them from anywhere there is an internet connection. We set aside a good-quality preservation copy of each document. Then we select multiple duplicates whenever possible to use as replacements for the accessible copies. We keep the preservation copies and the duplicate replacement copies in separate climate-controlled spaces to assure that the information in them will not be lost.

These may not be things to curl up on a comfy couch and read. But preserving them is just one of the many things we do here at the State of Arizona Research Library.

If you wish to come see the Session Laws or any other historic or current law material in person, stop by the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building at 1901 W. Madison Street, Phoenix any Monday through Friday (except state holidays).

Join us to Learn the Basics of Westlaw!

westlaw-flyer-jv

Join us to learn the basics of using Westlaw!

Are you new to legal research? Want to learn to use one of the most common legal research databases?

  • Research and retrieve case law and statutes
  • Find annotations for statutes
  • Find out if a case or law has been changed or overruled

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Time: 12 Noon – 1p.m.

https://www.azlibrary.gov/events/2182

Learn to use WESTLAW!

July 26, 2016 – Westlaw Basics

Westlaw Flyer Final

Are you new to legal research? Want to learn to use one of the most common legal research databases?

Join us to learn how to use Westlaw. Presented by Kay Engler, Esq. Westlaw Government Account Manager.

  • Research and retrieve case law and statutes
  • Find annotations for statutes
  • Find out if a case or law has been changed or overruled

Date: Tuesday July 26, 2016

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Location: State Library of Arizona, Con Cronin Commons

To register: http://www.azlibrary.gov/events/1683