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20 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 133 (2022-2023)
Citizen's Arrest and Race

handle is hein.journals/osjcl20 and id is 137 raw text is: 

Citizen's Arrest and Race

                                  Ira P.  Robbins*


     I begin with  a mea culpa. In 2016,  I published an article about citizen's arrest.'
The  idea for the article arose in 2014, when a disgruntled Virginia citizen attempted
to arrest a law school professor while class was in progress.2 I set out to research and
write a traditional law  review article. In it, I traced the origins of the doctrine of
citizen's arrest to medieval England,3  imposing  a positive duty  on citizens to assist
the King  in seeking out suspected  offenders and detaining  them.4 I observed that the
need  for citizen's arrest lessened with the development of organized  and widespread
law-enforcement entities.5   I surveyed  developments   across  the United  States and
highlighted  numerous  problems   with the doctrine that led to confusion and abuse.6 I
concluded   by  recommending abolition of the doctrine in most instances and
proposed  a model  statute to address appropriate applications of citizen's arrest.7
     But  I did not discuss race. Indeed,  I did not even  use that word  in the entire
forty-three-page  article.8 It's not that I had intentionally ignored the issue. Rather, I

         Barnard T. Welsh  Scholar and Professor of Law and  Justice, American University
Washington College of Law. A.B., University of Pennsylvania; J.D., Harvard University. I am more
than ordinarily grateful to my superb and indispensable research assistants, Sarah Haddon and Cannon
Jurrens, whom I consider to be my colleagues and my friends. Copyright © 2022 by Ira P. Robbins.
All rights reserved.
     '   See Ira P. Robbins, Vilifying the Vigilante: A Narrowed Scope of Citizen's Arrest, 25
CORNELL  J.L. & PuB. POL'Y 557 (2016).
     2   See id at 559. The perpetrator claimed, among other things, that the professor had engaged
in mind control by computer technology at a distance. Rachel Weiner, Tyler Cowen's Attacker
Thought the Professor Was Controlling His Mind, Cowen Testifies, WASH. POsT (Apr. 29, 2014),
controlling-his-mind-cowen-testifies/2014/04/29/a4c5b9f4-ctb9-11 e3-b812-
0c92213941f4_story.html [https-/perma.c/5QIX-AW5R].
     3   See Robbins, supra note 1, at 562.
     4   Id
     5   See id at 565.
     6   See id at 572-80. These problems include, inter alia, the level of suspicion required, the
ability to know the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, the temporal reasonableness of
detention, and the appropriate use of force on the part of the arrestor.
     '   See id at 584-98. These applications include a shopkeeper's privilege, police outside oftheir
jurisdiction, and properly trained private police forces.
     8   In a section on neighborhood watch groups, I devoted three sentences to the 2012 killing of
Trayvon Martin in Florida. See id at 582.


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