Stevenson v. State, 82

Citation287 Md. 504,413 A.2d 1340
Decision Date06 May 1980
Docket NumberNo. 82,82
PartiesRobert Louis STEVENSON, Jr. and Kent Alton Wilson v. STATE of Maryland.
CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland

Page 504

287 Md. 504
413 A.2d 1340
Robert Louis STEVENSON, Jr. and Kent Alton Wilson
STATE of Maryland.
No. 82.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
May 6, 1980.

[413 A.2d 1341] Geraldine Kenney Sweeney, Asst. Public Defender, Baltimore (Alan H. Murrell, Public Defender, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellants.

Alexander L. Cummings, Asst. Atty. Gen., Baltimore (Stephen H. Sachs, Atty. Gen., Baltimore, on the brief), for appellee.

Page 505

Argued and reargued before MURPHY, C. J., and SMITH, DIGGES, ELDRIDGE, COLE, DAVIDSON and RODOWSKY, JJ.

DIGGES, Judge.

Petitioners Robert Louis Stevenson, Jr. and Kent Alton Wilson were convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County of two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon and one count of using a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. When on appeal the intermediate appellate court affirmed these convictions, this Court granted certiorari to review the following questions:

(1) Whether the Court of Special Appeals erred in holding that "a citizen's arrest" (in this case, police

Page 506

officers acting outside of their territorial jurisdiction) were beyond the scope of constitutional protection?

(2) Whether the trial court erred in holding that the warrantless arrests of Stevenson and Wilson by private individuals were valid, and thus, that the fruits of these arrests were properly admitted into evidence?

Since we conclude that "citizens' arrests" remain viable in this State, and because we determine that the apprehension of petitioners here was validly effectuated in accord with longstanding common law principles[413 A.2d 1342] for such arrests, we will affirm their convictions. By so ruling, we do not reach the constitutional issue posed.

The factual backdrop to this appeal begins with the daytime robbery, on April 4, 1978, of a branch of the First National Bank of Southern Maryland, located in the Marlow Heights Shopping Center in Prince George's County. Several males, some of whom were armed, entered the bank, seized all of the money contained in two of the tellers' cash drawers and immediately left on foot. At this same time, three members of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Detectives Franklin, Bartholomew and Wallace happened to be in the vicinity of the bank on totally unrelated business. As they approached the shopping center in an unmarked police car, Officer Franklin, who was familiar with the Marlow Heights area of southern Prince George's County, observed two men, approximately forty or fifty yards from the rear of the bank, running away from the building "as fast as they could." Specifically, the detective

noticed a cloud of paint or red smoke. Two men were in the cloud running. One of them had what appeared to be a bag in his hand that the smoke appeared to be coming from, and there were bits of paper flying through the air, coming out of the bag.

Being "familiar with the practice of banks using a (robbery prevention and detection) device that contains tear

Page 507

gas and dye that they include among (the) money . . . , that explodes shortly after . . . it is removed from a (teller's) drawer," and seeing no apparent reason for the two men's flight as no one was chasing them, Franklin remarked to his companions that "there must be a bank robbery and those two possibly were part of it." The officers immediately made a U-turn, pulled their automobile abreast of the runners, verbally identified themselves as police officers (they did not display their badges nor were they in uniform) and directed the fleeing suspects to halt. When these two individuals failed to stop, Detectives Franklin and Bartholomew jumped from the car and gave chase. The runners separated, and one of them, later identified as petitioner Wilson, was almost immediately apprehended by Detective Franklin, with some assistance from Detective Bartholomew.

Seeing that his colleague had subdued Wilson, Officer Bartholomew pursued the second suspect. As this detective started up the street in the direction of the man's flight, he saw someone, "(a)pproximately a block or half a block" from where he had last seen Wilson and his companion before they had separated, who "broke and ran across the street." Officer Bartholomew believed this person was one of the two men he had seen running earlier, since his height (6'1 or 6'2 ) was about the same, 1 although the officer acknowledged having taken his eyes off of the runner for "a few seconds" while he helped corner Wilson. The detective also testified that he recalled seeing no one else on the street at the time he gave chase to this individual. Officer Bartholomew pursued this suspect around the corner of an office building, but he was nowhere to be seen; a search of the parking lot behind the building was then immediately undertaken by the detective since he "knew that (the runner) couldn't have disappeared that fast." When this search failed, Officer Bartholomew questioned "some

Page 508

unknown citizens" (who were, at the same time, eating at an outdoor cafe next to the parking lot) as to whether they had seen anyone running. One or more of these diners responded, "Yes, he is in the bushes up there by that car." Upon examining the bushes indicated, the officer found the suspect whom he had chased around the building lying prone on the ground camouflaged beneath the foliage. This man, later identified as petitioner Stevenson, was ordered [413 A.2d 1343] out of the bushes and turned over to a Prince George's County police officer who, in response to the robbery alarm, had arrived on the scene. Stevenson, as well as Wilson, were subsequently indicted by the grand jury for robbery with a deadly weapon and related offenses.

At their jury trial in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, both Stevenson and Wilson, each claiming that his arrest by the District of Columbia officers was illegal, moved to suppress all evidence concerning the arrest, including any in-court identification of him by Detectives Franklin and Bartholomew. A hearing was conducted on these motions, at which the events surrounding the arrests, earlier described, were related. The trial court, relying on this Court's decision in Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co. v. Paul, 256 Md. 643, 261 A.2d 731 (1970), denied the petitioners' motions to suppress because, in its view, the Washington officers, acting as private individuals, had the necessary probable cause to authorize a citizen's arrest. On appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, petitioners made no constitutional attack concerning their arrest, but challenged their capture solely on the grounds that, under our decision in Paul, a private individual may arrest another only if he possessed actual knowledge that a felony had been committed and not, as the trial court held, probable cause to believe that such criminal conduct had taken place. The intermediate appellate court, however, at the suggestion of the State, found it unnecessary to address the limited issue raised by the petitioners both before it and the trial court, since, in its view, citizens' arrests are not governed by the federal constitution's fourth amendment stricture against unreasonable searches and seizures. Consequently, that court affirmed the convictions

Page 509

because, under this ruling, the exclusionary command of Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963) as a sanction for unconstitutional seizures, would not apply to the evidence obtained during the arrests of petitioners even if such detentions were illegally made. Stevenson v. State, 43 Md.App. 120, 124, 403 A.2d 812, 815 (1979). Because we conclude that these arrests made by the citizens here were valid under the nonconstitutional law of this State, whose requirements are at least as strict as those of the United States Constitution, there is no reason to consider the impact of the fourth amendment's exclusionary rule on arrests by private individuals. 2

In explaining why we believe the apprehension of both Stevenson and Wilson by the District of Columbia detectives was valid, we begin by examining the status of these officers when they acted in this case. Generally, a peace officer's authority to make an arrest is limited, in the absence of statutory authority expanding it, to the confines of the geographical unit of which he is an officer. See Gattus v. State, 204 Md. 589, 597-600, 105 A.2d 661, 664-66 (1954); accord, State v. Shienle, 218 Kan. 637, 545 P.2d 1129, 1132 (1976); Berigan v. State, 2 Md.App. 666, 668-69, 236 A.2d 743, 744 (1968); State v. Williams, 136 N.J.Super. 544, 347 A.2d 33, 35 (1975); Irwin v. State, Department of Motor Vehicles, 10 Wash.App. 369, 517 P.2d 619, 621 (1974); 4 Wharton's Criminal Law and Procedure § 1614, at 277 (R. Anderson ed. 1957). At common law, a limited exception to this rule developed which permits an officer who is in "fresh pursuit" of a suspected felon to make a legally binding arrest in a territorial jurisdiction other than the one in which he has been appointed to act, Gattus v. State, supra, 204 Md. at 600-01, 105 A.2d at 666, and this ancient doctrine has, to some extent, been codified in this State. Md.Code (1957, 1976 Repl.Vol., 1979 Cum.Supp.), Art. 27, §§ 595-602 (interstate fresh pursuit); §§ 602A-602AD (intrastate fresh

Page 510

pursuit). See Boddie and Brooks v. State, 6 [413 A.2d 1344] Md.App. 523, 531, 252 A.2d 290, 293-94, cert. denied, 255 Md. 739 (1969). In all other situations, however, a peace officer who makes an arrest while in another jurisdiction does so as a private person, and may only act beyond his bailiwick to the extent that the law of the place of arrest authorizes such individuals to do so. E. g., Davis v. United States, 409 F.2d 1095, 1099 (5th Cir. 1969); State v. McCullar, 110 Ariz. 427, 520 P.2d 299, 300 (1974); People v. Lyons, 18 Cal.App.3d 760, 774, 96 Cal.Rptr. 76, 85 (1971); State v. Shipman, 370 So.2d 1195,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
54 cases
  • Grandison v. State, s. 65
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1984
    ...a severance lies within the sound discretion of the trial court. Stevenson v. State, 43 Md.App. 120, 130, 403 A.2d 812, 818 (1979), aff'd, 287 Md. 504, 413 A.2d 1340 (1980); State v. Jones, 284 Md. 232, 238, 395 A.2d 1182, 1185 (1979). The trial court, in exercising its discretion, is requi......
  • Manuel v. State, 1511
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • November 14, 1990
    ...trials, but, if justice requires, the rule permits separate trials. Stevenson v. State, 43 Md.App. 120, 130, 403 A.2d 812 (1979), aff'd, 287 Md. 504, 413 A.2d 1340 (1980). "[J]oinder [of multiple defendants] for trial is dictated under circumstances where most, if not all, of the evidence a......
  • Parker v. District of Columbia, 87-7039
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 17, 1988
    ...officers with probable cause to believe someone has created a felony may make a citizen's arrest in Maryland. See Stevenson v. State, 287 Md. 504, 413 A.2d 1340, 1346 (1980).) Had they done so, he would not have been made nervous by the drawn-out stalemate, would not have attempted to flee,......
  • Wieland v. State, 1412
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1993
    ...(1991); Erman v. State, 49 Md.App. 605, 611, 434 A.2d 1030 (1981); Stevenson v. State, 43 Md.App. 120, 130, 403 A.2d 812 (1979), aff'd, 287 Md. 504, 413 A.2d 1340 (1980). See also Zafiro v. United States, 506 U.S. 534, 113 S.Ct. 933, 122 L.Ed.2d 317 (1993). They are factors that have absolu......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT