You are handcuffed. A cop on each arm. But are you “under arrest”?

G.G.’s day started to go bad when the assistant principal at Cypress Ridge High School woke him up in the classroom.  After a bit of questioning and an “impairment assessment test” school administrators determined that G.G. was under the influence of drugs.  When informed of this, G.G. “forced his way” out of the A.P.’s office.  A school police officer soon intervened, and with the help of another A.P., tried to keep the boy from leaving the building.

When G.G. head-butted the A.P., the cop put the boy in cuffs and took him to the principal’s office. When the police officer’s backup arrived, they proceeded to walk him to their car for transport to the police station.

So imagine that you are G.G.   Your hands are cuffed behind you.  You are being escorted down the hallway—one cop holding your left arm and another one on your right.  Would you consider yourself to be “under arrest”?

In the subsequent litigation, G.G. claimed that he did not understand himself to be under arrest.  Nevertheless, he was clearly not happy with his situation.  He managed to break away from the two cops, streak through a crowded school cafeteria and out the door.  In  handcuffs.

The cops caught him, and charged him with two offenses: assault of a public servant due to the head-butt, and escaping arrest.  The jury acquitted the boy of the assault, but convicted him of illegally escaping.  G.G. appealed the finding of delinquency, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.  The court concluded that a reasonable person in G.G.’s situation would have understood that he was under arrest—not just temporarily inconvenienced.

Makes sense to me.  The case is In the Matter of G.G., decided by the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas on October 31, 2017.  We found it at 2017 WL 4896723.


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