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georgia: Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law key to defense in Arbery case – Times of India


A key defense argument for the three white men on trial in Georgia for killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger, is that they were trying to make a citizen’s arrest under a Civil War-era law that was later repealed amid an uproar over the shooting.
The defense can still use the repealed law in their defence because, as one lawyer said, it was “the law of the land” at the time of the February 2020 shooting. It was legal in Georgia for people to arrest someone where they had “reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion” that the person had just committed a felony.
Lawmakers now limit citizen detainment to specific circumstances, such as shopkeepers who see a theft or restaurant workers seeing a “dine-and-dash”.
Most US states have codified some form of a law allowing citizen’s arrests.
Ira Robbins, a law professor at American University in Washington, wrote in an academic paper, “While recruiting citizens to aid in eradicating crime is a noble idea, strict safeguards are needed to prevent the law being abused.”

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