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  1. #31
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    Quote Quoting jk
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    for it to be obstruction, the keys, or relinquishment of the keys would have had to have been within of the cops duties.
    What makes you believe that tracking down a drunk arrestee's keys is outside of the authority of the police?
    Quote Quoting jk
    They cannot simply make demands without cause.
    They had cause: They had reason to believe that the OP had the arrestee's keys, so they asked him for them. He refused to obey, and ended up charged.
    Quote Quoting jk
    Unless his holding of them was unlawful or they were evidence in a crime he did not obstruct the officers in their duties as they had no duty to gain possession of the keys for any lawful reason....
    It's legal to sit in your car, in the driver's seat. That doesn't mean that you cannot be charged with obstruction if you refuse to get out of your vehicle at the lawful instruction of a police officer. The notion that the police need a "legal duty" to look for the keys is not a defense to this offense -- it was a lawful order.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    Quote Quoting jk
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    How is retaining the keys obstruction of justice? for it to be obstruction, the keys, or relinquishment of the keys would have had to have been within of the cops duties.
    But the officer was acting in the performance of his duties. He was responding to a call about a drunk person causing some sort of difficulty, whatever that was. In sorting things out they decided to drive the woman home rather than arrest her, which they may do. As part of that, they would secure her car, which she wasnít going to drive, and that includes getting the keys so that sheíll have them later when she goes to get her car. They were entitled to do that, unless, perhaps the car owner objected to that and said she wanted something else done with her keys. They donít have to believe him that he was a good guy that would hold the keys properly for her. Even if the officer ultimately was wrong in asking for the keys, the OP was still obstructing the officer in carrying out his duties in responding to the call. The issue that would then raise is whether the OP would have had just cause to refuse the order. As Iíve already stated, his rights were not being violated by the order so I don't see that he had any good cause to object to it just based on what we know.

    Bear in mind that the officers need to be able to get things under control and resolve the immediate scene at hand without encountering a lot of extra difficulty. Thatís what the obstruction of justice charge is there to prevent. As the OPís rights werenít being violated here, it wasnít up to him to decide whether to stand in the way of what the cops were trying to do. Itís not his role to decide what the cops can and cannot do. But he did anyway and thatís what drew him the obstruction charge.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    Mr. Knowitall;918930]What makes you believe that tracking down a drunk arrestee's keys is outside of the authority of the police?
    first, it appears she was, at most, a detainee. There was no arrest and no charges. Then, arguing it is within the police' authority to track down an arrestees keys, that are not an element of evidence of a crime, would be the same as hunting down their shoes, if they had none on their feet, their wallet if no in their pocket, their hat if none on their head. Unless the keys are pertinent to the crime or the holding of the keys themselves was a crime, they police have no basis to bother with the keys and no authority to demand a person, in lawful possession of the keys, to relinquish them.

    They had cause: They had reason to believe that the OP had the arrestee's keys, so they asked him for them. He refused to obey, and ended up charged.
    asked for the keys? it appears asking was not what happened and if asked, one always has a right to refuse. Asking is not an order.

    but anyway, unless there was a basis for them to demand the keys, it was not a lawful order and as such, refusing is not obstruction nor is it refusing to comply with a lawful order of a cop.


    It's legal to sit in your car, in the driver's seat. That doesn't mean that you cannot be charged with obstruction if you refuse to get out of your vehicle at the lawful instruction of a police officer.
    IF they have a valid basis for the demand, of course but if there is no basis for the demand, then refusing is not obstruction or refusing to comply with a lawful command.

    The notion that the police need a "legal duty" to look for the keys is not a defense to this offense -- it was a lawful order.
    I do not believe that has been established. It is the same as when a person is recording the police in their duties and the cop demands the photographer turn over their camera. Unless the police have a valid basis to seize the camera, refusing to relinquish the camera is not obstruction nor is it a refusal to comply with a lawful order because it was not a lawful order.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Taxing Matters;918949]But the officer was acting in the performance of his duties. He was responding to a call about a drunk person causing some sort of difficulty, whatever that was. In sorting things out they decided to drive the woman home rather than arrest her, which they may do
    sure but at what point do they decide they have the right to demand the keys the OP was willingly given?

    . As part of that, they would secure her car, which she wasn’t going to drive, and that includes getting the keys so that she’ll have them later when she goes to get her car.
    first, I have seen cops walk away from unlocked cars and unlocked houses when they took the driver or resident elsewhere. Arguing they have a legal right to be a nice guy and that gives them the right to demand a person, who was given the property specifically and willfully by the person they are assisting has no basis in law. They can be nice all they want but if a third party was given property, unless the owner of the property now wants it returned or the property is somehow connected to a crime, I see no basis for the cops to demand anything. ergo; a command to relinquish the keys is not a lawful command as there is no basis to force the holder to relinquish them.
    They were entitled to do that, unless, perhaps the car owner objected to that and said she wanted something else done with her keys
    IAgain, our laws are restrictive, not permissive. He had been handed the keys. He had a right to retain them unless there was an overriding reason (owner wanted them back; they were evidence or element of a crime).Unless the police had a lawful basis for demanding the OP relinquish the keys, forcing them from him was not a lawful act. Being a nice guy is not a lawful basis to demand others comply with your demands.
    They don’t have to believe him that he was a good guy that would hold the keys properly for her.
    it doesn't matter what the cops thought. She gave them to him so unless there was an intervening action where she reversed her intent, it doesn't matter what the cops thought. They are not the arbiters of whether a person is making a good decision or not.

    Even if the officer ultimately was wrong in asking for the keys, the OP was still obstructing the officer in carrying out his duties in responding to the call.
    How is that? The only thing that is written concerning obstruction is refusing to relinquish the keys. It is not obstruction to refuse to comply with an order that has no lawful basis. Of course it is something that would have to be ruled on by a court where it would be determined whether command was lawful.



    The issue that would then raise is whether the OP would have had just cause to refuse the order. As I’ve already stated, his rights were not being violated by the order so I don't see that he had any good cause to object to it just based on what we know.
    his rights to not be arrested without probable cause were violated if there was no probable cause he has committed a crime. Making up a crime, such as obstruction (which many police do simply to be able to oppress a person) does not make it true.

    Bear in mind that the officers need to be able to get things under control and resolve the immediate scene at hand without encountering a lot of extra difficulty.
    it would seem that the police are the one's guilty of causing the extra difficulty. Demanding keys that, as far as we were told, were in the hands of a person the owner chose to give them to is the police escalating the issue rather than the OP.
    That’s what the obstruction of justice charge is there to prevent. As the OP’s rights weren’t being violated here, it wasn’t up to him to decide whether to stand in the way of what the cops were trying to do. It’s not his role to decide what the cops can and cannot do. But he did anyway and that’s what drew him the obstruction charge.
    so ponder this:

    I'm at a bar with a friend. Friend is too drunk to drive so I ask for his keys. He gives them to me. For some reason cops respond to the scene and see he is wasted. They, being nice guys decide rather than calling a cab they will drive him home (small town so it is not totally out of the question). Now, the cop turns to me and says; give me his keys. (and so far that is what has been described here as well). You are saying unless my friend actually objects to the cops demand, the cop has a right to demand the keys from me. How does the cop know I was not intending to make sure friends car got home that night or that I had stuff in the car I needed but due to the activity, getting it from the car while cops were there was not a reality or any other reason... or no reason other than my friend entrusted me with his keys and I felt obligated to make sure they were returned to him when he was able to come back and get his car BUT after he was sobered up enough to drive? While the cops wanted to be nice guys, being a nice guy is not a lawful basis to force others to comply with their demands.

    and since you'all want to use some care taking obligation of the police: let's say they took drunk person home and after wresting the keys from me, sat them on the kitchen table and left as the drunk person appeared to be heading to bed. Now, an hour later drunk person goes; Damn!!! my car is at the bar. He then calls a cab to take him to the bar, still way too drunk to drive, and gets in the car and drives right into the side of the building. Obviously the claim it was a care taking obligation sure got shot in the foot with that.


    To me, in the end, it gets down to whether the owner of the keys wanted the keys returned. If they made no mention of it, and I see no requirement they specifically intervene in the cop/OP situation and state he is allowed to have the keys in his possession, I see the cops actions as oppressive and over-reaching.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    Quote Quoting jk
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    and since you'all want to use some care taking obligation of the police: let's say they took drunk person home and after wresting the keys from me, sat them on the kitchen table and left as the drunk person appeared to be heading to bed. Now, an hour later drunk person goes; Damn!!! my car is at the bar. He then calls a cab to take him to the bar, still way too drunk to drive, and gets in the car and drives right into the side of the building. Obviously the claim it was a care taking obligation sure got shot in the foot with that.
    Exactly why we are generally expected to take said drunk person TO JAIL and not home.

    Ultimately, JK, the officers had every right to request the keys back and even to compel their return. Absent a specific request from the owner of the property that the OP be permitted to retain possession of the keys, they did not belong to the OP and the police were responsible for the detained party's property. I don't know what happened to the person, ultimately, but it certainly appears that at the time she was detained and, quite possibly, pending arrest. You may not like the situation, but, the law does not generally permit people to front off the cops in the performance of their duty ... well, at least until the last year or so. (But, the rising tide of law enforcement "taking a knee" is a discussion for another time ...)

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    The police were not responsible for the detained parties property that was not on their person and then the only way they would be liable for that property is if they took possession of it. Given the keys were not on the detainees person and were not in possession by the police until such time they forced op to relinquish them, the only time they became responsible for the keys was upon taking them from the op.

    And agsin, unless the police have reason to act the law does not give them the authority to act so unless the owner of the keys requested the police obtain her keys there is no reason, no obligation, and no right to obtain the keys. The owner of the keys does not have to interject themselves into the matter and say; it's ok if they have my keys, if the police were never told the op didn't have the right to hold the keys.


    But lets run with your statement. Since the car involved was the detainees property, as written they left it where it was, exposed to God knows what. Nobody was even appointed watchdog to make sure nothing happened to it. How is it a set of keys that were willingly given to the op somehow fall under this made up care taker activity yet the car is left without a guardian? I know, you are going to say it was locked and unless the bar owner objected it was safe.

    Well, right there we have another problem. Since the woman left the premises, the authority to park in the bar's lot no longer existed without express permission from the bar management. So now we have the cops walking away from a situation where it is likely the bar management could have the car towed. Where is there care taking obligation now?


    the cops are not nannies where they are charged with insuring some detainees property is rendered safe.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    You can argue until the end of time that it should be legal for somebody to ignore the lawful order of a police officer if they feel they have some sort of justification for their disobedience. As the OP found out, when you choose to ignore the lawful order of a police report, the person to whom you're apt to end up making your argument of justification is going to be the prosecutor, or the judge or jury at trial.

  7. #37

    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    You can argue until the end of time that it should be legal for somebody to ignore the lawful order of a police officer if they feel they have some sort of justification for their disobedience.
    Exactly this. The place to make such arguments are in COURT, where one lays out either their damages or how their civil rights were violated; not at the roadside. The OP had no right to the keys over the authority of the officer seeking to take responsiblity for them.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    All this over you trying to trump the police. I had a similar situation years ago, where I told her she needed to take an hour for her pills to get out of her system. Of course by the time she walked to a payphone, called the police and returned, the hour was almost up. I explained to the officer what had happened, handed him the keys and told him he was now responsible for anything that might happen. Problem solved.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Did Not Relinquish Keys, Charged with Obstruction

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    You can argue until the end of time that it should be legal for somebody to ignore the lawful order of a police officer if they feel they have some sort of justification for their disobedience. As the OP found out, when you choose to ignore the lawful order of a police report, the person to whom you're apt to end up making your argument of justification is going to be the prosecutor, or the judge or jury at trial.
    It's not arguing one has a right to disobey a lawful order. It is whether the order is lawful and as such does give a person a right to refuse to comply. I stand that it, at least as presented, was not a lawful order. Obviously a court will ultimately decide.


    And again, thanks for the discussion. I did learn a few things.

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