Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Right to resist arrest in Georgia

Huh… you learn something new every day. I never heard of a right to resist arrest. This stems from English common law.

Georgia adopted the common law of England in 1776. Embedded in that common law was the right to physically resist an unlawful arrest or escape from an unlawful detention, Justice John Ellington wrote for the unanimous court.

The decision by the Georgia Supreme Court stems from a case where a man was detained by police and the man resisted arrest to the point where he head butted an officer and damaged a police car.

Turns out the police had no reason to detain him and he was within his rights to resist an unlawful detention. 8 other states also have laws on their books similar to Georgia.

In the Georgia high court’s ruling on Glenn’s appeal, Ellington noted that at least eight states have laws on their books that say even if someone has sufficient grounds to believe he or she is being unlawfully arrested, it is that person’s duty to refrain from using force or any weapon to resist it. Because Georgia has no such prohibition, the common law right to resist an unlawful arrest remains in effect here, Ellington said.

I don’t think I’d be resisting arrest based on this court case anytime soon. I would rather comply with the officer’s orders and file my grievance later. I may be in the right but once I’m stopped by police I think there is little to gain other than a tune-up at the hands of someone who holds all the tools.

Image by 4711018 from Pixabay