Every so often (most recently in regards to the bad arrest of a Salt Lake City nurse) we see the question pop up on ATS: does a person have the right
to resist arrest? The answer to that question is: unless you live in South Carolina, probably not. At least not in the manner that somebody telling
you that you do is probably trying to make it sound.
Nearly every time this question comes up, somebody comes strolling along with the nifty seemingly
lofty sounding constitution.org link
that tells you "why yes, citizen, you most certainly do
have the right to resist arrest!" What
that person will not tell you is that nearly everything on that page is either a selectively quoted portion of no longer relevant case law or an
But wait Shamrock! The website has constitution in it! It must be legit, right? Yea, no the guy that owns that page is a computer programmer (which
makes the page layout kinda sad, I think) who loves him some tax protesting and militias (think Michigan Militia variety, not National Guard variety).
One of his ideas is that jury duty should be considered "militia duty" and that the militia should mean literally everybody, everywhere, and that
"the militia" can be "called up" by practically anybody, at any time, for any reason they deem necessary. That fella isn't any sort of expert on
law, other than the self-anointed type of expert.
Now, back to the oft-cited yet very wrong link. For one thing, the case law it cites is well over a hundred years old, and has been either nullified
or modified since. To be blunt, most states have specifically stated that the people have no right to forcibly resist unlawful arrest. The states that
still allow it have generally restricted it in some manner, whether it be to the standard of only using reasonable force to resist unlawful arrest, or
stating that the person may only resist unreasonable force but not the arrest itself. Essentially, if your state uses the Model Penal Code,
you generally have no right to use force to
And, again, those states that do allow for some sort of resistance have generally limited it in some degree.
Here is a point by point
rebuttal of the first link.
That link highlights the obvious fabrications and selectively quoted material that constitution.org relies on, and
demonstrates exactly why they're wrong.
Plummer v State Wiki page for those who want the abridged version
Bad Elk v United States Wiki link for that abridged version
So for those of you asking this question, please do not blindly accept the response that "yep, you sure can." Hell, don't blindly accept my
response. This is ATS, take the information and research it yourself. Hopefully you'll arrive at the conclusion that the guy who's literally making
up quotes that don't exist in actual case law may not be giving you solid legal advice.
And if for some reason after this you decide that "yep, you sure can" then by all means, go ahead with that belief. But please keep it to yourself
before you try it out on your own. Don't encourage others to try something you haven't had a chance to test yourself. But hey, if you try it and it
works then keep us posted.