Can a bystander be detained without probable cause?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Pollard, F068156 (Cal. App. 2015):

Defendant also contends his initial detention was unlawful because there was no evidence he was engaged in illegal activity. As noted above, however, bystanders may be detained without probable cause if the detention is minimal and is outweighed by legitimate government interests. Defendant also asserts that he lacked sufficient connection to the residence to be detained, and was a "casual visitor." However, "categorizing the person detained as a visitor, occupant or as having any other status is not determinative on the issue of whether a detention is reasonable." (People v. Hannah, supra, 51 Cal.App.4th at p. 1347.) Indeed, we have held that, in the course of effecting an arrest, a person on the premises whose identity and connection to the person to be arrested are unknown and cannot immediately be ascertained without detaining the person, a brief and reasonable detention is constitutionally permissible. (Ibid.)

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