WHEN IS A PERSON DETAINED?

police curb photoA person is detained when “a reasonable person would have believed he or she was not free to ignore the police presence and go about his business.”  The California Court of Appeals says that there was no detention when the officer approached the minor and asked to speak to him, or when the officer asked the minor for his ID, name, and birthdate.

But the Court of Appeals rules that there was a detention when the officer asked the minor to sit on the curb.  By then the officer had conveyed to the minor that he suspected him of illegal activity, 4 officers in 3 patrol cars had arrived, the officer asked the minor if he had anything illegal on him, conducted a records check, and conducted a consensual search of his person, including his pockets.  Even though the officer characterized it as “asking” the minor to sit on the curb, no reasonable person under all these circumstances would have felt free to leave.


In re J.G.; 2014 DJ DAR 9791; DJ, 7/28/14; A139869; C/A 1st, Div. 4 (summarized by  by Al Menaster, LA County Public Defender’s Office)

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