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When the Arrest is Solely for Running from the Police

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by: Ryan • September 24, 2011 • no comments

Question: do you have a client who was arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer, and the arrest is based solely and exclusively on running away from the police, i.e., there was no probable cause to arrest for any other crime?

Relying on US Supreme Court precedent, the Arkansas Supreme Court determined that it was unlawful to arrest someone for misdemeanor fleeing and obstruction of justice when running away was the only basis for the arrest. The opinion is here.

The government is seeking cert. The brief in opposition states:

Indeed, Terry and its progeny allow Terry stops of individuals where reasonable suspicion of criminal activity exists. However, where the evidence of criminal activity is nonexistent, the exception shaped for Terry stops was not intended to dislodge or defy the fundamental constitutional right of citizens to circumvent police contact. It is submitted that the exercise of a person's constitutional right to evade police contact, by itself, does not rationalize an investigative detention. [Emphasis added.]

The BIO is here.