School administrator makes citizen’s arrest of school teacher

Dec 28th, 2011 | By | Category: Bob's Blotter, Unions

Yeah, that doesn’t happen every day, but it did recently in the normally quite Lodi Unified School District on December 20 in a little set-to written about today in a Stockton Record piece, linked here.

Lodi Middle School Vice-Principle Lurdes Rosales called the local constabulary, the day after teacher Jon Lampachet is alleged to have “bumped” her during an altercation during a class.  Lampachet was taken to the local police station, issued a misdemeanor battery citation and released.  Lt. Fernando Martinez of the Lodi P D called it a minor incident.

It seems that the decision to have Lampachet arrested was an administrative one, made by school administrators, due to possible contract and union issues.

Rosales complained that Lampachet blew a whistle in her ear during a P E class and then bumped her as he passed.  Rosales characterizes it as one of many acts of insubordination by Lampachet.

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4 Comments to “School administrator makes citizen’s arrest of school teacher”

  1. Gadfly says:

    Additionally, as a private citizen you can arrest someone who commits a misdemeanor in your presence, if you are merely a witness to the crime. For instance, if a private citizen saw a tagger spray painting on a neighbor’s wall, he/she could reasonably detain the suspect using citizen arrest powers. When a law enforcement officer arrives, the private citizen usually signs a form provided by the DA’s office, agreeing to appear in court to testify against the suspect. As a retired cop, I followed a drunk driver through several cities until the sheriff’s showed up. The driver parked his car and fell asleep behind the wheel with the engine still running. The cops took my statement and I placed the driver under citizen’s arrest. They hooked the driver for the DUI, based on my observations of his driving (A deputy later told me the driver blew a .19 on the PAS.)

    Penal Code 837 allows a private person to affect a lawful arrest. This is the law:

    A private person may arrest another:
    1. For a public offense committed or attempted in his presence.
    2. When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not
    in his presence.
    3. When a felony has been in fact committed, and he has reasonable
    cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.

    Felonies do not require a citizen arrest form, since a peace officer can arrest a felony suspect based on information and belief (Penal Code 836) that a felony was committed based upon a witness or victim statement.

    But as for a school district, there is no such animal as an administrative arrest in the penal code. If the school district policy required the vice principal to affect the arrest or be fired for violating school policy, that leaves the vice-principal with a choice of pressing charges or risking unemployment. But the school district, not having been party to the incident cannot press charges, because they are not directly involved in the incident as a victim or witness.

    My Department took hundreds of citizen arrests every year, especially from stores who caught misdemeanor-variety shoplifters or employees stealing money from the register. Citizen arrests are very legal in California.

  2. AJ Honeylake says:

    She should sue for false arrest. Citizens arrests technically aren’t legal unless the charge is a felony.

    • Bob Walsh says:

      Not so.

      • pacovilla says:

        Bob is correct. There’s one important difference between an arrest by a private person and that of a peace officer: There is no law against resisting a “citizen’s arrest.” Also a peace officer is under no obligation to take a person in custody for a misdemeanor not committed in his/her presence and may issue a cite and release.