Thursday, September 20, 2007

Well, not exactly...

The Daily Nexus just published an article where I was quoted and conferred various titles. First of all, yes, I am a "self-proclaimed" Isla Vista Lawyer: which means that I am letting the Isla Vista community know that I am available for free consultations concerning criminal law problems arising in Isla Vista; just as I have been for years. I am not, however, a public defender, as is made obvious in the body of the article, not the title. I am a former public defender. In any event, those aren't the inaccuracies that merit further discussion. While the article was generally accurate and informative, it did not quote me accurately in one critical respect. I did say that a police officer does not have any more right to touch people than a non-police officer; and that is generally true. However, I said some other things that are not, for reasons unknown, included in the article. This is the rest of that quote:

1. A police officer may touch you if he does so...

(1) in self-defense*
(2) in defense of another*
(3) pursuant to probable cause to arrest (e.g., you broke a law in his presence* or if he believes you are a felon who has yet to be arrested)
(4) to effect a citizen's arrest on behalf of another (where the crime was not committed in his presence).
(5) pursuant to an arrest warrant
(6) to prevent your injury (if say you are passed out on the street)*

2. It is NEVER, and I mean NEVER, a good idea to physically resist a police officer. If you believe that they have no right to touch you, but are doing so anyway, just tell them politely that you do not consent to be touched and go along with the program. Submit to the arrest. Whatever they did wrong can be dealt with in one or more courts of law after the fact. Don't exacerbate the problem by pulling away or, even worse, physically assaulting the officer. Doing so can get you:

(1) Injured
(2) Tased (even if you say, "don't tase me bro'")
(3) Charged with additional and more serious crimes (even felonies) and/or
(4) Killed (possibly)

Having said all of that, go ahead assert your rights VERBALLY, and only within reason (in other words you don't need to repeat yourself again and again, nor shout, to preserve your rights), and just be polite. As the old saying goes, you attract more flies with honey than vinegar. IVFP aren't flies, and you aren't wanting to attract them, but you get my point.

* These are rights that all people have, not just cops.

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