Changes Coming To Georgia’s ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ Law?

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In the wake of the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, dueling bills have been filed in the Georgia House of Representatives to make changes to the state’s “citizen’s arrest” law § 17-4-60. Oddly enough, a citizen’s arrest was never even a factor in the Arbery case…until a District Attorney invented the claim weeks after the fact.

The McMichaels never said they were doing that when the son shot Arbery, nor did their police report account of what happened support a “citizen’s arrest.”

Let’s look at Jeff Jones’ [R-Brunswick] HB 1213 Citizens Detainment Act; enact first. While seemingly complicated, it would really only do two things.

HB 1213 clarifies the existing statute by carefully defining terms and when a person can be lawfully detained by a private person. Most of this is already the law in Georgia, but now you would be able to find everything under one statute, instead of searching through several.

A notable change is when one may detain person attempting to escape. Currently, the law allows pursuit when it is known (not suspected, as some have suggested) that a felony has been committed. HB 1213 changes that from any felony to a forcible felony; a crime of violence against a person. Property crimes are specifically ruled out.

I consider HB 1213 to be reasonable. Carl Gilliard’s [D-Garden City] HB 1203 Criminal procedure; arrest by private persons; repeal article is another matter. As the title says, it’s a complete repeal of § 17-4-60, allowing no lawful citizen’s arrest at all. I believe enacting this bill would get a lot of people killed or put them in legal jeopardy.

While some people think of a “citizen’s arrest” in terms of holding a shoplifter or the like, it happens more often than that. A homeowner holding a burglar or home invader at gunpoint, waiting for the police to show up is technically performing a citizen’s arrest. If § 17-4-60 is simply repealed, all a criminal caught in the act has to do is walk away. Once he’s not attacking a person and trying to leave, he’s immune to arrest by anyone but law enforcement.

Without § 17-4-60, a criminal could kick in your door, grab your jewelry and leave. He can act with impunity so so long as he sticks to property crimes. Legally, there would be nothing you could do about it but call 911 and watch your property depart with the criminal who’s probably going to repeat himself at another home. Sounds like quite the boon to the criminal class, which happens to be a Democrat core constituency. I’m reasonably confident that’s what Gilliard had in mind, but he didn’t think this through.

With no ability to perform an arrest, Joe Homeowner has a choice: 1) watch the family jewels walk away, or stop the thief. To do that, he will have to shoot him. Lethal force would be necessary because then only Joe’s story of how the criminal forced him to defend himself against a physical attack gets heard.

For that matter, ’round here, there’s most always a handy gator to dispose of inconvenient bodies, precluding any need for calling 911. I suspect that option is occasionally invoked in some of the more rural areas anyway, citizen’s arrest law or not.

comments

  1. avatar They hate you white man says:

    Why does (((TTAG))) hate gun owners defending themselves in a legal manner?

    Oh – (((TTAG))) hates white people.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      hate is legit.

      1. avatar 24and7 says:

        Believe me I know…I am a white male..The most hated and discriminated against being on the planet..

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          I can beat that.

          Christian, conservative, heterosexual, America-loving, gun-owning, European-Caucasian male.

          As a Facebook Human Resources was recently caught on video (by the Veritas Project) saying and laughing: “White males have no protections anymore”.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          I can’t tell if you guys are being sarcastic (bravo) or if you are honestly this deluded to think you are up on a cross because facebook doesn’t like you.

        3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Hannibal, white conservative hetero males (those who can’t check off a single “intersectionality” box) are told in every Leftist corner to go to the back of the bus and stop talking so the multi-intersectionals can speak.

          Add “gun owner” to that, and you can hear heads exploding.

        4. avatar KenW says:

          I think we still hold that title.
          I’m considered white ( remember being a Jew is a religion not a race) but thanks to 1/4 Cherokee with some African ( escaped slaves were welcome in the tribe even through they also had black slaves ) I’m olive skinned. No Semite anywhere in my background for many generations but thanks to my mutt heritage I look vaguely like I could fit the terrorist profile. So any place where TSA is at will be a real hassle.

          But that is now, in high school this one girl decided to go out with me probably since it was rebellious and dating blacks back then was a real no no. Anyways she talked me into going to her church and told the pastor she was bringing a Jew with her. So low and behold he brings me up during the sermon. Tells folks I’m damned because I have not accepted Jesus and belong to a religion that God obviously hated because of the way Jews were treated. Afterwards she tries to blow that off as that’s just the way they are. Years later when she married a Catholic ( even worse a Cuban Catholic) he refused to allow her wedding to be held in his church, So I got to tell her that yes that’s just the way they are.

          In the 70’s it was still OK to call me a kike, horn rim, hymie , jewboy, hebe, yid, tell jew jokes and such at work so you just had to grin and bear it.

          In Miami beach though I could turn the table a bit.
          It was fun to take splicers to Wolfies or Pumpernick’s for instance. Folks there saw me and often would quietly slide a bit of Yiddish into the conversation as they were taking our orders to see if they were right. My idiot foreman would often comment about these Jews might be cheap but damn they really keep the pickles and tomatoes stocked on the tables. To bad he did not understand the side talk the waiters and others were saying about him.

        5. avatar GS650G says:

          “White males have no protections anymore”

          The only protection they have is their skills. Get rid of people who know what they are doing to satisfy quotas and you better hope what’s left can do the work.

          Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. In the end once they pull shit like that word gets around and the skilled workers have the last laugh. Glassdoor.com has some interesting stories.

        6. avatar Big Bill says:

          I remember a vary popular trope from more than twenty years ago that TV commercials would tell you who was the protected class in America: it was anybody BUT white, heterosexual males.
          They were fair game for ridicule. Make a woman or any minority look dumb, and the company would be raked over the coals. But the poor white straight guy could be made to look dumber than a box of hammers with impunity.

        7. avatar Hannibal says:

          I Haz A Question

          Told by whom? When is the last time that you, in your daily life, got told to shut up because you’re not allowed to talk when there’s a genderfluid xir intersectional zoomer who needs to talk? Were you arrested?

          The irony is that it’s the conservative white guys that tend to complain about snowflakes trying to be victims and then they pull this ridiculous card.

    2. avatar enuf says:

      Kanye East ??? Is that you ???

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Okay, that’s a good one. Imma gonna hafta steal that for personal use.

    3. avatar Debbie W. says:

      Please describe any and all discrimination you have endured over the past 10 years. Make sure the discrimination is tangible and surpasses your accusations about this forum and your fixation on skin color otherwise you’re just another race baiter talking out their bigoted behind.

      1. avatar (((Debbie w))) says:

        Are you blind?

        Whites, especially Christian whites, are systemically discriminated against in college admissions, job hiring, government contracts, startup investment, etc.

        I didn’t get into Medical School, but my black friend from college with a lower GPA and lower MCAT did. BTW, his dad was a surgeon and he came from a lot more money. Neither of my parents went to college, and made much less money. I worked during college- he didn’t. How is that fair? My parents paid taxes into the system, but his parents came here from Ethiopia. Never slaves. If you are white, life is harder for you.

        Whites are now a minority for kids under 16. You’re just a dumb boomer that’s too stupid to see what’s going on.

        1. avatar binder says:

          There is more to getting into grad school than GPA ,entrance exams or even race, so get over it And if no medical school would take you, that honestly sounds like you.

        2. avatar rt66paul says:

          Any white male boomer born after 1954 knows about discrimination in hiring due to quotas set in ’75. I scored top in all my interviews for “forever” jobs – like refineries, newspapers(yeah, I know), etc. I was told over and over that they would love to have me, but…..
          My wife was offered a training position as a pipefitter, when I could not get the job, although I was working as a contractor(temporary work) at the same place. She had no experience, I had 5 years

        3. avatar Ronald west says:

          I know you are telling the truth, whites need to open their eyes, I went to get a grovnment loan to start a small business, when I told them what I was there for, the lady behind the dark ,said you are wasting your time, I ask why was that, she replied your skin isn’t the right color.

      2. avatar Just a very tired American says:

        OK-
        Jumped 15 times. Including during the jumping- being beaten with any number of weapons- “figgin white boy you gonna learn to stay out cheer”. Even though I lived there, I was beaten regularly for being in ‘their’ part of town.
        My brother was almost beaten to death for his car because ‘you cracka MF gonna learn dis our town, give up dem keys cause you don’t deserve no sh like dis”
        Being stabbed while at a bar with my BLACK friend by a black guy because he said ‘dat cracka was eyin me, aint goan let no white boy do no sh like dat. I didn’t even know he existed till he stabbed me.
        My wife being shot at while at work ’cause smart ass white bitch drop dat money so we can’t gets it’. When they were leaving, they turned and unloaded at her. After watching the tape, I don’t know how she wasn’t hit.
        Finally, my brother being shot and murdered by a black guy while home on leave from Iraq. He survived a WAR ZONE. He had stuck up for the very same black guy against a guy that was being racist. The black guy left, returned with a shotgun, and rewarded my brother for his decency & compassion with a load of 12 gauge 00Buck to the stomach. He bled out on the sidewalk, alone. I actually watched him get shot & die on video. In court, the black guy literally shrugged & said “I sorry, I shots da wrong guy”. He was only sorry that he didn’t murder the guy he was really after, not that he had murdered my brother.
        This is just 10 years. If I went back 20 years, I could write a book.
        I have no more black friends. The last one tried to tell me I should feel sorry for my brother’s murderer getting so much time. I moved out of the city. I avoid them like the plague. I used to stick up for blacks to anyone that said a single disparaging thing about them. Now, I figure I did my best. If it was Asians or Hispanics that had done this much harm to my family and myself, I’d feel the same way. But they haven’t, and I’ve dealt with a ton more Hispanics than blacks. Are there good decent black folks? Sure, but they are the extreme minority in my experience. So I’d rather blacks not live within a 1000 miles of me. That’s not ‘racism’, it’s reality that I had to learn the in hardest way. I’d just rather have my loved ones not be terrorized and murdered because the majority of blacks think the law doesn’t apply to them.

        1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          I think you should write about your experiences in book format with more detail.

          Heck, self publish on Amazon or similar. I would buy a copy as my reading habits are quite varied.

    4. avatar frank speak says:

      in most places you have to actually SEE a crime being committed to even consider that…very risky business….

    5. avatar Sulla says:

      TTAG occupies this weird thought-space: gun rights are to protect you against a tyrannical government but not against criminal joggers, except sometimes. A lot of the TTAG-common conservative groups seem to have this sort of approach. You get the impression they would very much prefer inter-racial gun uses to be limited to brave black sharecroppers scaring off the Klan – anything but whites taking their neighborhoods seriously & certainly not them taking their culture seriously.

      I wonder why that is.

    6. avatar Dan H. says:

      I can’t believe there are still alleged adults trying to excuse the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. The only reason that story ever should have hit TTAG is as a “should have been a defensive gun use” – BY ARBERY.

  2. avatar Ragnar says:

    So, if I understand this correctly; police are bad and need to be defunded, but the citizens can’t be trusted to make an arrest, only the police can do that?

    1. avatar Sulla says:

      Mostly – police are bad and need to be replaced with more politically reliable police, only these new police will be able to make arrests.

  3. avatar 9mm Johnson says:

    “Sounds like quite the boon to the criminal class, which happens to be a Democrat core constituency”

    Because there are no Republican criminals.

    1. avatar 2Aforever says:

      Fewer

    2. avatar Roy says:

      Leftists are evil, stupid losers.

      1. avatar Reason says:

        In general yes you would be correct.

  4. avatar 24and7 says:

    Appease the mob!! Appease the mob!! Appease the mob!! Cave in to the criminal element!! It is time for civil war!!

    1. avatar RedEagle says:

      We need to make the grass green again.

    2. avatar Debbie W. says:

      If Jim Crow Gun Control democRat Joe Biden et al are elected and your gun rights are trashed thank the bigots and Trump bashing democRat lint licking trolls on this forum.
      What is the point of complaining about citizen arrest when some people cannot even stand their ground against the diabolical, despicable democRat Party? Instead they get on their knees and scream bloody murder about tweets while ignoring mountains of democRat Party warts and dung.
      The Constitution of The United States cannot survive in the hands of bigots and democRat Party lintlickers.

  5. avatar enuf says:

    If someone breaks into your home while you are there, regardless of their intent that should be considered a Home Invasion and you should have the authority under a Castle Doctrine law to defend yourself and your family or guests with lethal force. The very act of breaking into an occupied home implies the threat of great violence and injury to all residing there.

    On the other hand, hell no if someone is running down the street or across your yard with your property it is too late to shoot them. You have missed that opportunity, spraying bullets about the landscape would then be idiotic, unsafe and should be unlawful.

    Remember always, using a gun defensively will be taken apart by a prosecutor half second by half second. What was legal for you with your gun in hand to do when someone broke in, in those moments, will cease to be legal moments later.

    1. avatar ronsaxby says:

      As always noted, “Timing is everything.”

    2. avatar Dude says:

      The Castle Doctrine was completely ignored in this article.

      1. avatar enuf says:

        Yup, and it should not have been.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Castle Doctrine has nothing to do with citizen’s arrest.

        2. avatar Dude says:

          Repeated from the article:
          “Without § 17-4-60, a criminal could KICK IN YOUR DOOR, grab your jewelry and leave. HE CAN ACT WITH IMPUNITY so so long as he sticks to property crimes. Legally, there would be NOTHING YOU COULD DO ABOUT IT but call 911 and watch your property depart with the criminal who’s probably going to repeat himself at another home.”

          So you think without citizen’s arrest, there’s nothing I can do when a criminal kicks my door in?

    3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      In California (of all places), this is known as “homeowner’s presumption.”

      The way it works in the law is this: Someone breaking into a home is presumed to have lethal intent, regardless of actual circumstances, whatever is in their hands, whatever they say (or don’t say) when they make entry.

      This means that the homeowner, in their own home, does not need to establish a reason for their “reasonable fear” before they used lethal force on the home invader – the homeowner is presumed to have had a reason for reasonable fear of life or great bodily harm by the mere fact that someone made entry into their home. Lawyers here can explain the important distinction of “reasonable fear” in these situations.

      If my memory serves, it is in California Penal Code 187.50.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Believe it or not but here in CA we have the right to arm ourselves and go into the street to aid others in danger.

        Would I want to be openly armed when 5-0 rolled up on the scene? No. But to defend a woman or child I would take that chance.

  6. avatar ronsaxby says:

    UH……a “gator arrest”??? Let those gators take the fall…..

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      I really hate to break the news to Carl, but ‘gators aren’t very efficient at corpse elimination.

      They eat what they want and leave the rest behind. And what’s left behind can get you convicted.

      Now, a ‘Fargo’ wood-chipper, on the other hand… :

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        A few years ago traveling we stopped in at their welcome center in Fargo…..Wood chipper display outside and I believe the prop used in the movie is the one inside.

      2. avatar James W Crawford says:

        Have you considered how difficult it would be to clean the wood chipper?

  7. avatar 24and7 says:

    Well what do you know..I see truth about guns had to change the picture that they had at the beginning of this article…Because it showed a citizen treating a criminal in a rough manner…Political correctness Runamuck

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Don’t know why the photo was changed but I agree, it was changed.

      The original photo was a “bad guy” held face down on the ground. Over him was the “good guy”, who had one hand on the bad guy’s head forcefully holding the bad guy’s face to the ground. The other hand held a cell phone and was to the good guy’s ear.

      So it was a “Good guy with a phone making a strong-arm citizen’s arrest” photo.

  8. avatar Fully Involved says:

    Man, that lower drawer is messy.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Got tired of all those years of taking clean clothes from a drawer, wearing, washing them, drying and putting neatly back into a drawer.

      For a while I just cut out the “neatly”. Just stuff ’em in there.

      These days, hell with the drawer entirely.

      Now it’s “clean pile” and “dirty pile”.

      1. avatar Debbie W. says:

        You and your POTUS slandering belong in the dirty pile.

        1. avatar enuf says:

          No no, this was basic, we all learned this as toddlers. Excrement belongs in the toilet, never in the Oval Office nor seated behind the Resolute Desk.

          Please give Mom a call, she can offer a refresher on Potty Training.

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    Once again ones zip code determines what goes and doesn’t go.

  10. avatar RV6Driver says:

    Ok… The police and citizens can’t be trusted to deal with crime. The next stupid news cycle headlines will read “UN Peacekeepers patrolling our streets will insure both safety and racial justice…..”

    1. avatar Dude says:

      Yep, and I’ll add there is no such thing as racial justice, only justice. There is, however, racial revenge. Just sayin’.

    2. avatar Tired of the bs says:

      Oh lookie pretty blue targets!

  11. avatar Nonips48 says:

    Bull if I catch someone attacking a child or elderly I will take them down and sue the hell out of the state or breaking into a neighbors home

  12. avatar 2A says:

    You just send the Body to Carol Baskin the tiger lady , for disposal .

  13. avatar Dave says:

    What the hell is happening to GA?!

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Right now?

      Well, it is 82 degrees, partly cloudy, chance of rain low at 7% with 56% humidity and a light breeze of about 8mph out of the west. Increasing chance of rain tomorrow, and again all next Tuesday thru Friday.

      Hope this helps.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        You forgot to give a bug report. Big ass bugs with all that wet.

        First time there I heard a Huey coming straight for me. Big ass cock-a-roach looking thing with the wing span of a grouse.

        1. avatar 9x39 says:

          LMAO! Thanks, needed that. It’s been a not-so-nice morning with a 40% chance of annoying, & possibly terrible in the afternoon.

  14. avatar tdiinva says:

    Citizens arrest should be limited to cases where the defender detains his attacket. There is no ambiguity. If the offender is an immediate lethal threat the current law of self defense applies.

    1. avatar 9x39 says:

      I wholeheartedly concur.

  15. avatar Put that down says:

    So if no legal means to suppress property crimes then no business can hold a perp for police? Im assuming they will have to let them walk or hire a on site officer?

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      physically restrain absent the threat or use of lethal force….

  16. avatar gus says:

    funny thing is I was looking up these options yesterday. no, you can’t shoot someone over a property crime; but what everyone forgot, is the right to use force to protect property. you can push away the thief. you can grab your stuff back. you can chase him down and struggle with him over it. “force” probably includes punching, kicking, pepper spray, etc.

    and, if he escalates the situation, you have the right to respond in kind as a defensive action, since that has then become an assault on his part, which is illegal. your defensive response is authorized up to deadly force, following some sort of force continuum defined by law.

    NOBODY ever talks about that. oh boo hoo, all you can do is let them run away with your stuff. you can’t do anything. you had better stay away from them or you’ll be the one going to jail.

    WRONG!

    and guess what? this applies to looters, arsonists, and statue topplers as well. you can get out there and stop them. push them away. punch and kick if necessary. they are not legally allowed to fight back. you are legally allowed to defend yourself.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Looting is not a property crime. It is an attack on civil order. That is where the tradition of shooting looters comes from.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        wonder if these store owners have ever heard of the Burglar Bomb….[fills the place with tear gas]…….

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      arson..even attempted arson …can get you shot in most states…even the blue ones…it’s generally regarded as a deadly threat if the place is occupied…..

      1. avatar gus says:

        yes, if occupied. if unoccupied you can still run over there and kick the gas can out of his hands, take away his matches, push him away, and if he fights you that’s an illegal assault. take it from there.

  17. avatar Gary Mandigo says:

    What happens when law respecting citizens have had enough of the destruction being unleashed across this land?
    Since politicians appear only to appease the looters, rioters, arsonists, ANTIFA mob, and BLM class hoping to disband police, are we to simply become lawful citizen collateral damage for the ANTIFA, BLM, Communist, and assorted criminally minded revolutionary “protesters “?

    Law respecting citizens protecting life and property from criminals (off all sorts under the cover of protesting). If we as supporters of this Republic (Democratic) do nothing to counter this very real threat to our Nation, then we will be viewed as lowly cowards who failed to confront danger!

    History (rewritten with a political correctness) will only portray our complacency as true acceptance of the Revolutionary agenda.

    I pray that I do not succumb to any sort of complacency!

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      there’s an agenda at work here…these are far from random, spontaneous events…but rather a concerted attack on civil order with the goal of effecting political change…..

      1. avatar gus says:

        I would have to agree with that. except I think these are spontaneous events being taken advantage of. leftist/democrat leaders “enable” the participants to get away with it, and antifa/communists plan ahead to capitalize on it.

        the failure we have is law enforcement failing to find, apprehend and prosecute the criminals, all the way from rioters to antifa scumbags to communist provocateurs to dirty politicians.

  18. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Changes Coming To Georgia’s ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ Law?”

    Don’t need to change the law. need to educate people on how to use the law…
    Makes no nevermind, the murder of Arbery was committed by former LE, and he KNEW the law, so…

  19. avatar Tt78 says:

    WTH happened to this place? The author’s designated “reasonable” bill would prevent you from holding a property criminal accountable. If your local running star decides to start bashing in your parked car’s windows and you go out to stop him, the moment he retreats you must let him go. Makes sense when you take the democrat admins’ handling of the month long riots into account, but shame on you, Carl. Property rights are paramount to our society and we must have the right to defend it. Anyone that believes Arbury wasn’t responsible for his own death should give up firearms and let the state take care of them; try to reconcile that cognitive dissonance.

    Oh, and Carl, in castle doctrine states you don’t hold a home invader at gunpoint, you moron.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      You can’t use deadly force absent a deadly threat. That is why pursuing the perp is not a good idea. What do you do if resist your citizens arrest?

      1. avatar gus says:

        if you are enacting a citizen’s arrest, and the perp uses deadly force to resist, you have the right to shoot the bastard. self defense.

        1. avatar frank speak says:

          and quite possibly to a felonious assault…ie: bashing your head on a sidewalk…..

  20. avatar strych9 says:

    Seems like a place for handy tips set to a music…

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      *a musical accompaniment

      SMH

      1. avatar RV6Driver says:

        Outstanding tips!!!! I took notes!!!!
        😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😂😂

        Best post I’ve ever read on TTAG.

        Well played sir!!!!!

  21. avatar Hannibal says:

    Usually I would say that since the defendants are under arrest, the law doesn’t need changing. But this seems reasonable as the statute as written is needlessly complicated and could use clarification.

  22. avatar frank speak says:

    the term “detained for the police” sounds a lot better than citizen’s arrest…even though they are essentially the same thing…..

  23. avatar Colt Magnum says:

    Isn’t there a “presumption of peril” regarding when someone breaks into an occupied home? It’s presumed that occupants of the home are danger and can use lethal force to defend themselves.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      No. There are castle doctrines in some states that do not require an owner to retreat when confronted with an intruder in their home but even then it doesn’t mean you can just blast anyone in there. For example, if you find a drunk guy passed out on your couch in a college town you can’t shoot him while he lays there asleep. Nor can you generally shoot someone fleeing your house unless you can articulate how they were some sort of threat.

      And in this incident the house was NOT occupied, nor was it broken into.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        (nor was anything stolen or a felony committed)

  24. avatar Al says:

    “ Without § 17-4-60, a criminal could kick in your door, grab your jewelry and leave. He can act with impunity so so long as he sticks to property crimes. Legally, there would be nothing you could do about it but call 911 and watch your property depart with the criminal who’s probably going to repeat himself at another home.”
    Not true, Georgia O.C.G.A. §16-3-23 allows for the use of deadly force in the event of a violent act against him or her or anyone else living in theIr home, a break-in and/or robbery of the home or a felony therein.

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