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.... During a bench trial, the prosecution admitted that the arrest was illegal. Yet the judge ruled that Bear – who had no prior criminal history -- was guilty of “escape” and imposed one year of unsupervised probation. That conviction was upheld by the Arizona Court of Appeals, which ruled that although the arrest was unwarranted and illegal, Bear had engaged in an illegal act of “self-help” by refusing to submit to abduction with appropriate meekness.
Decades ago, when Arizona was a more civilized place, the state “followed the common-law rule that a person may resist an illegal arrest,” the court acknowledged. But that morally sound and intellectually unassailable policy was a casualty of what the court called “a trend … away from the common-law rule and toward the judicial settlement of such disputes.” Referring to the act of unlawfully seizing another human being and holding that person by force as a “dispute” is a bit like calling assault rape a “lover's quarrel.”...
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