Thursday, February 17, 2005

Are you man enough to be a Texan?

I've been writing recently about proposed bills, but here's a little gem I'd never seen before from Chapter 18 on Search Warrants (or in this case, the lack thereof) in the current Texas Code of Criminal Procedure:
Art. 18.16. [325] [376] [364] Preventing consequences of theft

Any person has a right to prevent the consequences of theft
by seizing any personal property that has been stolen and
bringing it, with the person suspected of committing the theft,
if that person can be taken, before a magistrate for
examination,or delivering the property and the person
suspected of committing the theft to a peace officer for
that purpose. To justify a seizure under this article,
there must be reasonable ground to believe the property
is stolen, and the seizure must be openly made and the
proceedings had without delay.
I'm not an attorney, and nothing in this blog, especially, heaven forbid, not this, should be taken as legal advice. But the way I read that, if somebody steals your stuff, "any person," really it doesn't even have to be their property, has the right to go "seize" the property, before notifying law enforcement, so long as you personally drag the stolen stuff, and preferably the perpetrator, "if that person can be taken" (read: "if you're man enough"), before a magistrate or to a cop so that "proceedings" can be held "without delay."

You gotta love this state, even if you need pretty big cojones to fully exercise your civic rights and responsibilities.


KipEsquire said...

I'm not a Texan, but I would interpret the "right to prevent" wording as simply referring to citizen's arrest, which is a fairly common concept, even if it's never actually used anymore outside of the so-called "shopkeeper's privilege" to temporarily detain a suspected shoplifter.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Well, the right to a citizen's arrest, and the right to seize (and, presumably, search for) the stolen property without a warrant - remember, this is the criminal procedure code chapter on search warrants. That's the part I found most intriguing. Haven't seen any case law to see how it's been interpreted, though.

Plus, I usually think of a citizens arrest as precisely the "shopkeepers privilege." Seeing it stated so sweepingly surprised me. Thanks for stopping by.