The firm of Koleilat and Miller recently won an important victory over unlawful arrests and limiting the ability of Officers to apply a Mutual Aid agreement to make arrests outside their jurisdiction. In a motion filed by G. Kipling Miller Esq. as lead attorney, and the firm’s Associate, William Mason Mims Esq., it was argued that the arrest of the firm’s client by a New Smyrna Beach Police Officer in the city of Edgewater was unlawful. The two Attorneys presented the merits of the motion at a hearing held on July 20, 2017, in Volusia County Court.
In this case, the firm’s Client was alleged to have run into an Edgewater Police patrol car while it was parked near a roadway. Edgewater Police Officers, citing concern that they did not want to be perceived as being biased, called the New Smyrna Beach Police Department on-duty Sergeant to send an Officer to do the crash investigation. Once the crash investigation had been completed the Officer proceeded to investigate and ultimately arrest the Client for a DUI. All of the events took place some seven miles outside New Smyrna’s jurisdiction.
What might seem obvious to every citizen, that a Police Officer outside his or her jurisdiction does not have the power to make an arrest; it can, in fact, become far more complicated and can be justified in certain circumstances. The State Attorney for the case argued, at the hearing, that under the Volusia County Mutual Aid agreement, the Edgewater Police Department was authorized to call in the assistance of another agency to perform the investigation in this case. The Mutual Aid agreement, which is authorized by state statute, “permits voluntary cooperation and assistance of a routine law enforcement nature across jurisdictional lines.” Fla. Stat. § 23.1225. As a result, Officers from other jurisdictions can be granted the same powers to arrest as Officers within the jurisdiction, thereby making the detention and arrest of the Client lawful.
Attorney’s Miller and Mims argued that the Agreement was intended to address serious issues, such as hurricanes or other disasters, or for multi-jurisdictional task forces, not routine traffic investigations. Among some of their other arguments were that the agreement itself only authorizes the specific tasks that are included in the written mutual aid agreement, that the restrictions contained in the existing Agreement prevent this sort of investigation, and that it would be bad public policy to allow one law enforcement agency to be able to have carte blanche authority to make arrests in other jurisdictions.
In the end, and after careful consideration of both sides’ arguments, the Judge ruled in favor of Attorney Miller and his Client stating “While a Mutual aid agreement can allow for some extra-jurisdictional arrests, this was not a situation involving an emergency, a DUI Task Force, a special event detail or any type of major law enforcement issue that would allow for the delegation of a traffic accident investigation and subsequent DUI arrest from the Edgewater Police Department to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department.” To read more of the reasoning please see the accompanying Order Granting the Defendant’s Motion to Suppress. A victory not only in this case but also a limitation on future attempts to use the Mutual Aid Agreement to justify clearly unlawful arrests.
While the law firm of Koleilat & Miller cannot guarantee such results in all cases, this should stand as an example of the level of dedication and hard work we exhibit on each case and excellence that the Attorneys at Koleilat and Miller strive for.
If you are facing any criminal charges and need representation please call our firm at 386-253-4720 immediately to set up a free consultation.