Idaho State Supreme Court Ruling Causes Confusion
A recent Idaho Supreme Court ruling is creating a lot of confusion about the state constitution and misdemeanor arrests.
The court ruled that police can’t arrest someone for a misdemeanor unless they saw the crime happen, or they have a warrant. This could change the way officers can react for some crimes.
Jodi Nafzger is a former prosecutor and current law professor at Boise’s Concordia School of Law. She says some people think this ruling is a new law. But she says it’s not. Speaking on Idaho Matters, she says it’s the Idaho Supreme Court reaching back to a much older set of rules.
“This is Idaho’s Constitution, which models the federal constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures,” says Nafzger.
She says that doesn’t mean everyone suspected of a misdemeanor gets to go free without ever being charged. She says police have other options for everything from domestic violence to DUI’s. That includes getting a warrant, making a Citizen’s Arrest, issuing a citation or sending the case to a prosecutor.
“In my view, from where I sit, a law enforcement officer is not going to leave a victim in an unsafe situation. There are going to be tools in place to be sure that the person can be removed to a place of safety,” says Nafzger.
She says law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in Idaho are working to find ways to respond to misdemeanor crimes, under this ruling.
Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio
Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio