Idaho court: Officer didn't see misdemeanour? Arrest not OK
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Idaho court: Officer didn't see misdemeanour? Arrest not OK

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court says law enforcement officers can’t arrest someone for a misdemeanour unless they have a warrant or actually saw the crime being committed.

The unanimous ruling made Wednesday has advocacy organizations and law enforcement groups scrambling, because it likely means police will have to dramatically change how they respond to domestic violence calls.

The ruling came in a drug conviction case, but the high court noted the Idaho Constitution’s provision against unlawful search and seizure doesn’t allow warrantless arrests without probable cause. That means no misdemeanour arrests unless the officer saw the crime.

Officers responding to domestic violence calls often arrest the person they suspect of committing the violence on a misdemeanour charge as a way of separating those involved and diffusing the situation.

Rebecca Boone, The Associated Press

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