Zanks v. Fluckiger

Citation22 Conn.Supp. 311,171 A.2d 86
Decision Date20 March 1961
Docket NumberNo. 8083,8083
CourtSuperior Court of Connecticut
PartiesLeon ZANKS v. Walter FLUCKIGER et al.

Pigeon, Gnutti, Kahan & Shannon, Rockville, for plaintiff.

Flaherty, Hannabury & Baum, Rockville, for the named defendant.

F. Owen Eagan, Hartford, for defendant Robert K. Ahnert.

COTTER, Judge.

Plaintiff sues in assault and battery, false imprisonment and trespass against Robert K. Ahnert, a Rockville policeman, and Walter Fluckiger, an Ellington constable who, while appointed a deputy sheriff for Tolland County, had not given a bond to the high sheriff as required by § 6-39 of the General Statutes.

The facts evolved in a Pickwickian fashion when a Mr. and Mrs. Ott, who live on Lower Butcher Road, Ellington, observed a parked car while riding home on this road with their family after swimming at the lake in the early evening of July 21, 1959. As they passed the car, a woman was heard to call 'Help! Help!' After arriving home, they became curious and returned to the parked car, and this time the woman entreated, 'Help! Help! Please help!' A man later identified as Zanks was standing by the car on both occasions. The Otts drove to the home of Robert Fluckiger, brother of the defendant Walter Fluckiger, and told Mrs. Ann Fluckiger that there was someone 'in distress that needed help.' Thereafter, the defendant Walter Fluckiger received a telephone call from Ann Fluckiger that there was a 'car down the road' and a woman calling 'Help!' So he drove to the area in Ellington and a girl known to him as Judy pointed out a car which had been parked and was driving away. He followed it across the Ellington town line into Rockville, watched it from Lanz's fruit stand and proceeded to 'Bar 83,' where he telephoned the Rockville police. He then returned to the fruit stand and waited for the police cruiser. Ahnert later arrived there in the cruiser, and Fluckiger went with him to Zanks's house in Rockville, arriving about 9:59 p. m. About one hour had transpired between the time Walter Fluckiger got the call and the time he arrived with Ahnert at Zanks's house. When they stopped the cruiser in front of the house, they saw Mrs. Zanks and talked to her. She was crying and said, 'I'll explain to you. My husband is in back. Get him first and I'll tell you.' Thereupon, they found Zanks sitting on the back steps of the house, and when they asked him, 'What seems to be the trouble?' he answered, 'I won't tell you nothing.' Thereafter, a tussle ensued, a twister was applied and handcuffs placed on him, and he was taken to the Rockville police station. In the meanwhile, Fluckiger had gotten a statement signed by Mrs. Zanks, which recites the events in a peculiar way as follows: '[I]n Ellington he told you get out of the car and walk home, and you call to about three car to call police and one slow up and call me and was drinking today and was using very bad lanage [sic] and when in Stafford he stop the car and slapped me.'

Testimony in court disclosed that Zanks had been in their house trailer in their camp at Stafford earlier in the day and had argued most of the day about a watch Mrs. Zanks had pawned. They left camp about 8 p. m. and, according to the story told Fluckiger by Mrs. Zanks, her husband stopped the car in Stafford and slapped her. Zanks claims he stopped in Ellington because she was in the back seat talking too loud and arguing and he got out of the parked car and stood alongside of the car, telling her he would not take her home until she stopped 'hollering.'

After the defendants got Zanks to the police station, they took the cuffs off and Fluckiger called George Gorsky, the trial justice in Ellington and explained 'the family argument.' Gorsky said that 'most of it took place in Stafford, nothing in Ellington to hold him on,' and Fluckiger told Officer Ahnert he was instructed to release Zanks. Thereupon, they took Zanks back home. Walter Fluckiger did not act as a deputy sheriff at the time. He considered himself as acting as a constable for the town of Ellington, wore his badge as a constable pinned on his coat, and could not act as a deputy sheriff until he posted a bond as required by § 6-39 of the General Statutes, nor could he act as a de facto deputy sheriff. 43 Am.Jur. 240, § 494; Town of Plymouth v. Painter, 17 Conn. 585, 593. As a constable, he had no right to arrest Zanks in Rockville, outside his precincts, without a warrant; General Statutes § 6-49; and such an arrest is illegal and ground for an action for false imprisonment. Sims v. Smith, 115 Conn. 279, 284, 161 A. 239; 35 C.J.S. False Imprisonment § 21, p. 648. The statute permits a constable to arrest without a warrant, in his precincts, when a person 'is taken or apprehended in the act or on the speedy information of others.' The statement taken by Fluckiger from Mrs. Zanks, even after the arrest, did not spell out an offense in Ellington or Rockville of which there was information, let alone speedy information. Nor does the complaint report of Ahnert disclose any. He merely says the complainant was 'W. Fluckiger, constable, Ellington,' and complaint 'as follows via telephone--he is acting on a complaint from Ellington,' and then continues, 'Assisted Constable Fluckiger [sic] with bringing Leon Zanks to office. He had a complaint from Mrs. Zanks and she wanted him arrested when we got to the house on Bellevue Ave.' Then he describes the difficulty in arresting Zanks and bringing him to the station.

Unfortunately, this was a tragedy of errors. The defendants attempted in an inept way to straighten out a family quarrel which resulted in an arrest several towns away...

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4 cases
  • United States v. Thompson
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • December 6, 1965
    ...before proper authority." (Emphasis added.) 4 The cases cited by counsel on this appeal are not in point: Zanks v. Fluckiger, 22 Conn.Supp. 311, 314, 171 A.2d 86, 88 (1961), cited by appellant, holds that a constable was not authorized to make an arrest without a warrant outside his precinc......
  • State v. Locke, 79-418-C
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • August 13, 1980
    ...absence of statutory provisions, the power of a sheriff is limited to his own county." Id. at 307; accord, e. g., Zanks v. Fluckiger, 22 Conn.Supp. 311, 171 A.2d 86 (1961); State v. Shienle, 218 Kan. 637, 545 P.2d 1129 (1976); City of Fairborn v. Munkus, 28 Ohio St.2d 207, 277 N.E.2d 227 (1......
  • Van Horn v. State, 90-131
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 14, 1990
    ...rule, recognizes a statutory extension of expanded jurisdiction. Following or recognizing the common law rule, see Zanks v. Fluckiger, 22 Conn.Sup. 311, 171 A.2d 86 (1961); State v. Carson, 374 So.2d 621 (Fla.App.1979); Drake v. Keeling, 230 Iowa 1038, 299 N.W. 919 (1941); State ex rel. Mal......
  • Amerson v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 8, 1994
    ...a deputy sheriff failed to qualify as a de facto sheriff due to a failure to file a bond as required by statute. Zanks v. Fluckiger, 22 Conn.Supp. 311, 171 A.2d 86, 87 (1961) (holding that appointee could not qualify as de facto deputy sheriff until he posted bond); Murphy v. Oklahoma, 95 O......

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