TDCAA TDCAA Community Criminal Arrest on Private property
County Deputy thinks the suspect has an outstanding warrant on a city charge. He sees the suspect who is drinking around a campfire on his private property on Friday evening with a friend. Suspect shows the officer reciepts that showed that his wifehad paid the tickets and thus the warrant is no good. Officer agrees not to arrest him then asks the suspect to perform FST. This is a new officer who wanted to practice. Meanwhile 2 DPS troopers stop to check on the Deputy.The suspect gets irritated because he's minding his business not bothering anyone on his property and he refuses. It all goes downhill from there. Lots of screaming from the children and family as Daddy gets maced and arrested. Officer is injured in the scuffle and wants me to prosecute the case as a Agg assalut public servant. What do you think???? Can the Officer's request FST on the Defendant's private property if the suspect is not breaching the Peace?
Are you asking if this is a public place where he can be arrested for public intoxication?
If so, there is some authority in each direction. Pugh v. State, 117 S.W. 817 (Tex. Crim. App. 1909) (front yard of rural home not a public place); Loera v. State, 14 S.W.3d 464, 467 (Tex.App. -- Dallas 2000, no pet.) (front yard a public place); TEX. PENAL CODE � 1.07(a)(40).
If he can have a campfire, then it sounds like this was out in the country and not a public place.
Not sure though why the propriety of the FST matters. TEX. PENAL CODE Sec. 9.31(c).
The most interesting thing about this thread is that a front yard in a rural area is not a public place while a front yard in Dallas apparently is (assuming, of course, that the case decided by the Dallas Court of Appeals was from Dallas). Does that same rule apply to public indecency? I think I would chalk this whole thing up to experience and let the guy go. Can't see a jury thinking much of a cop who arrests a guy sitting around a campfire in his own yard minding his own business.
I would decline to file any charges. The defendant is only guilty of contempt of cop, which is not in the penal code. Additionally, the defendant got rightfully irritated since the cop just wanted to practice the SFSTs. That is a good reason to get irritated when you are on your own propety, not violating any laws, and not causing any trouble.
Thanks for the cases. They are very helpful. Do you rural guys have teenagers who party on private propery in the country on the weekends? It seems the first kid to get stopped coming home or who isn't invited is very willing to rat out the other kids who then get raided by our local law enforcement.All of them get MIPs and if they scatter like rabbits, which they often do, their cars towed.It hasn't created much respect for our officers but the law enforcement side fells they are saving lives.My concern is that these kids are now my potential jurors.
It's a completely different situation if we are talking about underage drinkers. I was assuming in your prior post that we were talking about an adult on his own property. A keg party campfire being held by a bunch of kids is a different matter. I'd have no problems busting that up. I wouldn't worry about future jurors getting upset with the cops ... I think most people when they grow up just sort of consider it a rite of passage to get busted by the cops at a kegger.
New set of facts Philip. Just curious how other rural areas work the underage drinkers.
Yikes! Based on your post, I would approach this situation from an "ends of justice" stance. If the deputy entered the property seeking to serve an outstanding arrest warrant in an open field, he should have closed the interaction once he decided not to arrest the suspect.
But, since he did not choose to discontinue the encounter after being shown the receipts for the warrant, he bears the burden of showing that his actions were reasonable and necessary from that point forward. It sounds to me like the continued encouter amounted to a casual contact whereby the suspect could refuse to do anything and, essentially, walk away. If the officer sought to perform SFST on the suspect, surely he would have been aware of the suspect's right to refuse, and as it sounds, the suspect refused but apparently was not left to his private property.
So, were the officer's actions reasonable, and if so, for what ends was the officer seeking SFST's? If he was seeking the SFST experience for practice--the suspect should have been able to tell him to get the $^#&(@^% off his property wihout any fear of reprisal or retaliation. However, if the officer was seeking to establish intoxication because the suspect was intoxicated, then was it reasonable for the officer to seek the intoxication facts because the suspect "appeared in a public place" and "may have posed a danger to himself or others"?
Questions I have:
1. Even though you say it is private property, was it a public place? (Eg, privately maintained roads for the common use of etablished subdivisions are public places--any parallels with your case?)
2. What was the deputies intent? Was he trying to develop "public intoxication" charges. If so, why?
3. Did the deputy get his alligator mouth ahead of his butterfly ass? If so, sounds like there might be legal recourse against him on civil and possibly criminal charges?
4. In the end, your decision should satisfy the "ends of justice". Sometimes the best decision isn't always the most popular one (but I suppose that depends on where you stand--on private property with a reasonable expectation of privacy?? or on private property without a reasonable expectation of privacy??).
5. What about the deputy's injury? Was he injured from a direct use of force with the accompanying culpability by the suspect? Or, did the deputy step in gopher hole and twist his ankle? ??????
I hope there is more to the story?? If it is as simple as your post makes it out to be, the deputy should be seeking a lawyer, and your office should be seeking the ends of justice.
A thing may be permissible under the law and still better not done. The real question is a practical one: does this pass the smell test? The limited facts here stink. I'd take a pass. The officer should have left upon being convinced the warrants had been satisfied. I don't know your locale but most rural jurisdictions a full of folks who would not like this scenario.
I don't know how we'd handle that. The County Attorney's office handles all the Juvenile cases. In my previous county, we had a Juvenile Investigator for the Sheriff's office walk back into a fenced in back yard, through two gates, (unlocked) stroll onto the enclosed patio and write several minors tickets for consumption. The officer never had permission to enter.
Apparently, there was a complaint about noise several streets over. The enterprising deputy knew this one house, which was several blocks from the complaint and certainly not the source of the problem. But, since the Deputy was in the area, she thought she should stop by and see if they were having a party again. As two kids were coming through the gate in the fence from the back yard area, she stopped them and told them to take her to the owner of the property. The kid said, 'Wait here, I'll get him.' The officer said, 'No, you'll take me back there and show me where he is.' When the teenager who was throwing the party while his parents were out of town saw the Deputy, he said, 'You can't just walk in here! what are you doing?'
The deputy prompty responded, 'We're the cops. We can do what we want.'
I dismissed the tickets.
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TDCAA TDCAA Community Criminal Arrest on Private property
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