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  1. #1
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    Default Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida.

    Hi, firstly apologies if this has been asked before. I did do a quick search but couldn't find anything.

    Can anyone tell me whether a person can be arrested for simple stalking when not even near the complainants at the time please? There is some confusion about whether it is one of the exceptions to the law.

    There was no injunction in place and no complaints to the police or anyone else previously and although the person was in the area (he worked there) two residents complained of harrassment and he was arrested in another part of the community.

    I can't seem to make head or tail of the Fl Statutes on this.

    Many thanks,
    Phoenix

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    what are the details on the case? because you're answer is it depends...on the details.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    There are LOTS of possibilities where you could be arrested for simple stalking when not physically close to the complainant. Note that the statute doesn't require proximity - only harassing, which can take LOTS of forms. If there was ANY form of communication or contact happening, yes, that opens the door to arrest. As Antrc noted, it'll depend on the details.
    Catherine NeSmith
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    Hi, details are briefly:

    Security patrolling private gated community under contract from HOA for just under 10 months. 2 long term renters who didn't like the fact the community had taken on security because they were driving without tag, suspected in some thefts on the community. Issued only 2 violation notices for trash over the year and constantly flipping the bird and shouting abuse at regular guard. Owner takes over shifts (regular guard moves to new community to set up patrols there) and within 4 days, one of tenants comes through gates and accuses owner (in uniform on patrol) of purposefully blocking her way and then chasing her through community bumper to bumper (subsequently, CCTV tape shows this did not happen at all; she drives off alone and security car is seen parking up). Within 10 minutes, 4 Sheriff cars arrive and drive to LTR home. Owner is on a different street patrolling community. He is arrested for: Aggravated stalking on a minor under the age of 16 and simple stalking. Subsequent affidavits from Sheriff and complainants do not mention any minor under the age of 16. There is no complaint from either complainant about a minor and no mention of it again in any paperwork. Judge finds no probable cause for arrest for aggravated on minor under 16 as it is not even alleged, other that what the officer at the time has charged him with. Both alleged victims were 33 and 48 right from the beginning. No mention of a minor in the paperwork.

    With this in mind, should he have been arrested for simple stalking when there was no injunction, no probable cause for aggravated and he was working there legitimately?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    At first brush over, I'd have to agree with you: I don't see how police came up with aggravated stalking at all, much less stalking of a minor (since no minors were apparantly involved). One would normally go to the complaint that was filed, to see what officers were told, as they DO get to act in good faith on reports received. If none of the complainants mentioned a minor, your guess is as good as mine as to how that element came into the picture. One thing that I'd speculate on is that these two may have contacted police on PRIOR occasions, complaining about security - maybe things that police didn't feel were actionable - (since they obviously don't want you around if they are up to no good), and if in your area, as in many areas, the same officers work the same geography, they may have had a larger view of circumstances and things being reported to them than JUST the incidents of this event (in other words, maybe these complainants have been routinely complaining to give their complaints more "umph"). It may be revealing to check with the department and ask for a list of ALL complaints received in the community over the past few weeks.

    So I'm not seeing agg stalking ANYWHERE - simple stalking, maybe - due to the allegation of "chasing". You note that the judge didn't find PC for arrest on agg stalking, but were ALL charges dropped, or is there a simple stalking case still moving forward?
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    Hi aardvarc,

    Sorry for the late reply. The prosecution have gone with Nolle Prosecui after looking at the discovery from the attorney. Everything they alleged was proven untrue, (ie via CCTV) so obviously there was no evidence at all to prosecute the case.

    Just to make it a little more interesting though. The contract for the community was one of three that had been taken over in recent months and all were previously patrolled on overtime by the Sheriff's dept, in particular, two officers; on of whom was there when owner was arrested and the other who spoke to the community president of the HOA and told him, falsely, that owner had been arrested for agg stalking after walking into property of complainant's uninvited. This did not happen and nor was it alleged.

    Owner was arrested and then charged, 4 hours later, with agg stalking of a minor under the age of 16; it is not mentioned anywhere in the affidavit by the arresting officer; in fact she states both complainants age as 33 and 48. Because of this, the owner spent the night in jail and had to go before the judge the next morning, who then reduced both to simple stalking. In subsequent affidavit made by both complainants, nothing is alleged referring to a person under 16. It is as though the officer just plucked it out of thin air for the arrest and then never mentioned it again. This is why I would like to find out if there is a power of arrest for simple stalking when no previous complaints have been made, no injunction filed and the owner was not at the address or near the occupants.

    Judge refused deposition of the officer before the State Attorney declared nolle prosecui so she couldn't be asked what her reasoning was for the agg on a minor charge.

    Thanks for your input so far, it is appreciated.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    Per 901.15 a custodial arrest can be made for a felony or misdemeanor committed in the officer's presence, and for any felony for which there is probable cause to support the arrest.

    But, I don't know why the focus is on a minor child? Aggravated Stalking per 748.048(3) indicates the following:

    Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person, and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury of the person, or the person’s child, sibling, spouse, parent, or dependent, commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    No requirement for a minor exists.

    So, I suspect the officer charged and arrested for a felony based on the information they believed existed at the time. A court reviewed the information and found that there was insufficient probable cause to support the charges ... at that time. Understand that the charges can still be filed if there is enough evidence to support them. And, apparently, they will still have to face the charges for a first degree misdemeanor per 784.048(2):

    (2)Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    Thanks cdwjava,

    That is the sticking point for us, the agg for the minor. Both simple stalking charges were Nolle Prosecui after all allegations were disproved by the attorney as mentioned.

    Even if the officer was told at the time by the alleged victims that they had a minor under 16 in the house (was never seen in passing by owner or other guard when on duty), the officer then never put anything, and I cannot stress that enough, that there was no mention of a minor either in her arrest affidavit or subsequent interviews with them.

    Thanks for the input.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting phoenix67
    View Post
    Thanks cdwjava,

    That is the sticking point for us, the agg for the minor. Both simple stalking charges were Nolle Prosecui after all allegations were disproved by the attorney as mentioned.

    Even if the officer was told at the time by the alleged victims that they had a minor under 16 in the house (was never seen in passing by owner or other guard when on duty), the officer then never put anything, and I cannot stress that enough, that there was no mention of a minor either in her arrest affidavit or subsequent interviews with them.

    Thanks for the input.
    But, where is this MINOR thing coming from? Aggravated stalking does NOT require a minor in order to be charged. That may be the shorthand used by some computer program or Quik-Code booklet, but a minor is NOT required to charge the offense.

    The process apparently worked as intended. The officer charged a crime he or she believed fit the bill, a judge ruled that there was insufficient probable cause to proceed (or perhaps the DA chose not to file) and the matter was dropped. If someone made knowing and intentional false statements to the police, the person arrested might be able to sue the person who made those statements, but that can be tough.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is Simple Stalking an Arrestable Offence when Not Witnessed by a Police Officer

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    But, where is this MINOR thing coming from? Aggravated stalking does NOT require a minor in order to be charged. That may be the shorthand used by some computer program or Quik-Code booklet, but a minor is NOT required to charge the offense.

    The process apparently worked as intended. The officer charged a crime he or she believed fit the bill, a judge ruled that there was insufficient probable cause to proceed (or perhaps the DA chose not to file) and the matter was dropped. If someone made knowing and intentional false statements to the police, the person arrested might be able to sue the person who made those statements, but that can be tough.
    The charges initially were: 1) aggravated stalking on a minor under the age of 16. 2) Stalking. On the same affidavit, there are named 2 victims, both of whose ages are over 16. (33 and 48 respectively).

    If the owner had been arrested on 2 simple stalking charges, he would have been released the same day with a summons to appear, we are told. Instead, he was booked through the system, had to appear before a judge and then bonded out. I can't understand how a law enforcement officer is able to decide on a charge and then fail to make mention of it again at any stage in the proceedings. If the process worked as intended, then am I to understand that an officer can arrest you and charge you with something that hasn't been alleged? It it was alleged at the time or in the 4 hours after whilst she made her enquiries, then she has failed to make any kind of record at that time and subsequently.

    Because of this charge, which is a felony, the owner spent over 48 hours in custody (being processed etc). I cant believe this can happen in a great country like the US. It would appear that your liberty can be taken at any time for a reason which doesn't have to be justified or explained.

    There were false statements given to the Sheriff as was proved by CCTV. The complainant's account was totally different when viewed, both statements they gave were conflicting, they got times, dates and details wrong, even when one included a police report from previously. They changed their story twice. They insisted on trying to talk about the case with one of our other guards who we placed at the community. It really was a malicious complaint, perhaps with a view to making us lose the contract, which we did and also to perhaps sue in the civil courts (they are suing other companies who worked on the community for negligence as well).

    I know that there are people out there who are like this. What I can't get past is why the officer chose the felony charge which is why I needed to know if simple stalking is an arrestable offence if not witnessed by an officer, without any previous complaints or injunction etc.

    The worst part is that the owner had a legitimate reason to be there on a private community, ie a contract, whilst the complainants were eventually evicted for non payment of HOA fees.

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