Saturday, January 16, 2016

Detained In Laguna Beach California, Why I feel It Was Unlawfull



In 2014 California reported a population of 38.8 million people.  I have came across a 2007 report that states the percentage of gun owners at that time was about 21.3 percent.  

On January 15 2016 I was walking on Pacific Coast Highway with my camera equipment and was stopped and detained by a Sergeant of Laguna Beach Police Department for caring the case above with my tripod inside.  VIDEO BELOW 

California is not a stop and ID State and I was not interested in stopping to talk with officers and just wanted to keep going.  It is at that time that I was told I was not free to go, and I was detained.

The courts have made it very clear to law enforcement on when a detainment is justified and yet it seems some officers still are not entirely clear what the parameters must be, or they just do not care.

California does not have a statute mandating that a detainee identify himself, and that obligation cannot be read into Penal Code section 148. Although you may take whatever steps are necessary under the circumstances to ascertain the identity of a person you have lawfully detained, Hiibel does not provide a means of arresting someone for failing or refusing to identify himself. The [United States Court of Appeals for the] Ninth Circuit has ruled that a suspect’s failure to identify himself cannot, on its own, justify an arrest: “the use of Section 148 to arrest a person for refusing to identify herself during a lawful [] stop violates the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

To lawfully detain a person in California the detaining officer must have facts.  Facts that any other officer in the same situation would find that are reasonable to believe the detained person is committing, or has just committed a crime.

it is clearly established that an investigatory detention of a citizen by an officer must be supported by reasonable articulable suspicion that the individual is engaged in criminal activity.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21 (1968).  
Furthermore, “[a] person is ‘seized’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment if, ‘in view of all [of] the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.’”  United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980).

There are countless situations where the owner of a firearm would need to transport it from one place to another and since California has all but banned open carry, in that instance a case is the only lawful way to transport it from one place to another.  How else would someone get it to the gun range, or a friends house if going hunting.  I would also like to ad that transporting in a vehicle is not mandatory either.  After all, public transportation is also a viable means to get around.

Long guns like rifles and shotguns have different laws pertaining to transporting than firearms that are easily concealed like handguns.  Just watch out for those pesky "gun free" school zones.


According to the sergeant in my detainment, he stated the reason he wanted my ID is because I "might" have a firearm and gave the strong impression that if I did not ID than I would be subject to arrest.  But even if I had a rifle in the case, that is perfectly legal and not a possible crime which is needed for a detainment to be lawful.

Another statement I found troublesome was when the Sergeant felt that being a felon was a default status and a person would have to prove to him that they were not a felon just for being in possession of a firearm.  SCOTUS has made it clear that the status of felon IS NOT a default status and here is an example of that case law.  http://www.fedagent.com/columns?catid=0&id=784

Being a felon in possession of a firearm is not the default status.  More importantly, where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot justify an investigatory detention.  Permitting such a justification would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals in those states.” 

Although the case mentioned is in reference to open carry, the same principle applies to any lawful activity and according to the laws of California, the transportation of a cased rifle is not only lawful but legal.