Idaho

Court: Officer didn't see the minor crime? No arrest allowed

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Supreme Court says law enforcement officers can't arrest someone for a misdemeanor unless they have a warrant or actually saw the crime being committed.
 
The unanimous ruling made Wednesday has advocacy organizations and law enforcement groups scrambling, because it likely means police will have to dramatically change how they respond to domestic violence calls.
 
The ruling came in a drug conviction case, but the high court noted the Idaho Constitution's provision against unlawful search and seizure doesn't allow warrantless arrests without probable cause. That means no misdemeanor arrests unless the officer saw the crime.
 
Officers responding to domestic violence calls often arrest the person they suspect of committing the violence on a misdemeanor charge as a way of separating those involved and diffusing the situation.
 
Annie Pelletier Hightower with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence says the ruling makes it harder for law enforcement to create safety in many calls involving sexual battery, child abuse, stalking or other crimes that typically happen in a private location.


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