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Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law





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I begin with a mea culpa. In 2016, I published an article about citizen’s arrest. The idea for the article arose in 2014, when a disgruntled Virginia citizen attempted to arrest a law school professor while class was in progress. I set out to research and write a “traditional” law review article. In it, I traced the origins of the doctrine of citizen’s arrest to medieval England, imposing a positive duty on citizens to assist the King in seeking out suspected offenders and detaining them. I observed that the need for citizen’s arrest lessened with the development of organized and widespread law-enforcement entities. I surveyed developments across the United States and highlighted numerous problems with the doctrine that led to confusion and abuse. I concluded by recommending abolition of the doctrine in most instances and proposed a model statute to address appropriate applications of citizen’s arrest.


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