Page v. Staples

Citation13 R.I. 306
Decision Date07 May 1881
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island

The sheriff of one county cannot make an arrest in another county except on fresh pursuit in case of an escape, nor can he detain in such other county an arrested prisoner, except under a writ of habeas corpus .

A sheriff is not obliged to travel about with an arrested prisoner to enable the latter to procure bail.

EXCEPTIONS to the Court of Common Pleas.

This action was trespass for assault and false imprisonment brought in the Court of Common Pleas. The defendant Staples a deputy sheriff of the county of Providence, arrested the plaintiff Page on a writ issued by the Justice Court of the town of Gloucester, May 31, 1879, and made returnable June 14, 1879, in an action of trover brought by one Jedidiah Sprague against said Page. The arrest was made June 5, 1879 in the town of Scituate. At the trial in the Court of Common Pleas, Page adduced testimony to show that Staples refused to go with him to procure bail, although such bail could be procured in the vicinity of the place of arrest, and that Staples, in conducting him to the county jail of the county of Providence, carried him through a part of Kent County.

The plaintiff was nonsuited by the presiding justice, and brought the case into this court by exceptions to the nonsuit.

John M. Brennan, for plaintiff.

Ziba O. Slocum, for defendant.


A majority of the court is of opinion that the defendant was under no obligation to travel about with the plaintiff to enable him to obtain bail. The statute, Gen. Stat. R.I. cap. 196, § 6,[1] does not require an officer to do so, but merely requires him to let the person arrested to bail, upon giving sufficient surety for his appearance at the court to which the writ is returnable, and to abide the final judgment in the suit. If an officer were compelled to go about with a prisoner in search of bail, he would be subjected to loss of time and to labor and expense for which no compensation to him is provided by the statute. And, besides, the risk of the escape of the prisoner would be materially increased. Gen. Stat. R.I. cap. 196, §§ 9, 10,[2] provide for the letting of prisoners to bail after they have been committed.

But we do not think that the defendant can justify the taking of the plaintiff through a part of Kent County for the purpose of committing him to the jail in Providence County. In the absence of statutory provisions, the power of a sheriff is limited to his own county. He is to be adjudged a sheriff in his own county and not elsewhere. He cannot, therefore, execute a writ out of his own county, and if he attempts to do so becomes a trespasser. The only exceptions to this principle are, that having a prisoner in his custody upon a writ of habeas corpus, he has power, by virtue of the writ, to travel through other counties, if necessary, in order to take his prisoner to the place where the writ is returnable; and he may, also, upon fresh pursuit, retake a prisoner who has escaped from his custody into another county. Platt v. The Sheriffs of London, Plowd. 35, 37; Hammond v. Taylor, 3 B. & A. 408; Watson's Sheriff, 60, 61; Avery v. Seeley, 3 Watts & Serg. 494, 497. In the case at bar the plaintiff did not escape from the defendant's custody into Kent County, but was voluntarily taken by the defendant into that county. The moment they crossed the line between the counties, into Kent County, the defendant ceased to have any authority over the plaintiff. He had no more right to detain him in that county than he would have had to arrest him there.

The exception is sustained, and the case remanded to the Court of Common Pleas for a new trial.

POTTER J., dissenting in part.

In this case the plaintiff was arrested while at work in his field. The officer permitted him to go to his house to see his wife but refused to take him by the way he requested, and which, he says, is the nearest way to the jail, and on which he expected to meet a brother who would bail him. He also refused to take him to a brother in Providence, who says he would have bailed him. The court...

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11 cases
  • State v. Locke, 79-418-C
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 13 août 1980
    ...he was unlawfully arrested, its results were inadmissible in evidence. In support of his argument defendant relies wholly on Page v. Staples, 13 R.I. 306 (1881), where, in an action for trespass for assault and false imprisonment, the defendant, Staples, a Providence County sheriff, transpo......
  • People v. Hamilton, 83SA120
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 18 juillet 1983
    ...(1884); Butolph v. Blust, 41 How.Pr. 481, 5 Lans. 84 (N.Y.Sup.Ct.1871); Copeland v. Islay, 19 N.C. (2 Dev. & Bat.) 505 (1837); Page v. Staples, 13 R.I. 306 (1881). In Colorado, as elsewhere, the authority of peace officers to effectuate arrests is now defined by legislation. The General Ass......
  • State v. Morris
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 28 mai 2014
    ...of a local police department is limited to its own jurisdiction.” State v. Ceraso, 812 A.2d 829, 833 (R.I.2002) (citing Page v. Staples, 13 R.I. 306 (1881)).10 The General Assembly has established two exceptions to this rule. The first, known as the “hot pursuit” exception, permits police o......
  • Rodgers v. Schroeder
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 21 septembre 1926
    ...C. 317, 54 S. E. 291, 7 L. R. A. (N. S.) 576; Butolph v. Blust, 41 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 491; Lawson v. Buzines, 3 Har. (Del.) 416; Page v. Staples, 13 R. I. 306; Moak v. De Forrest, 5 Hill (N. Y.) 605; Sullivan v. Wentworth, 137 Mass. 233; Ressler v. Peats, 86 Ill. 275; Krug v. Ward, 77 Ill. ......
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