Sunday, March 28, 2021

"We arrest you, madam."

"The application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure, even if the force does not succeed in subduing the person." The slightest touch might suffice. "[T]he appropriate inquiry is whether the challenged conduct objectively manifests an intent to restrain."

So said the United States Supreme Court last week in Torres v. Madrid.

Read Torres for a summary of the two ways in which a seizure may occur: [1] With contact, regardless of submission; or [2] without contact, so long as there is (a) an assertion of authority and (b) submission to that authority.

*Not the same Countess of Rutland
(*Not actually the same
Countess of Rutland
)
Read Torres also for the historical context of the Court's holding, which includes this description of a genteel arrest in the Countess of Rutland's Case:

In that case, serjeants-at-mace tracked down Isabel Holcroft, Countess of Rutland, to execute a writ for a judgment of debt. They “shewed her their mace, and touching her body with it, said to her, we arrest you, madam.”

These days, seizures look a bit different, as the Torres majority notes: "There is nothing subtle about a bullet, but the Fourth Amendment preserves personal security with respect to methods of apprehension old and new."

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