Posts Tagged ‘victim’

Char-Meck Detectives Investigating a Home Invasion-Robbery & Homicide

August 25, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating a home invasion/robbery which resulted in a homicide. The victim has been identified as 15-year old, Marcus Antonio Steven Fluker.

At 12:41 p.m., North Tryon Division officers responded to a home invasion robbery where four suspects broke into a home at 7619 Grier Road.

An elderly couple was inside the residence when the suspects broke in, tied up the male victim and then proceeded to ransack the house. At least one of the suspects was armed with a handgun.

After the suspects fled the scene on foot, the male victim freed himself, had his wife call 911 and then went to look for the suspects.

A few minutes later and a short distance away, the male home invasion victim encountered the suspects on Ginger Lane. The victim fired a handgun at one of the suspects, striking Mr. Fluker at least once.

At 12:44 p.m., CMPD telecommunications received a call in reference to the shooting which took place on Ginger Lane. When officers arrived on scene, they located Mr. Fluker lying on the ground suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. The Charlotte Fire Department and Medic arrived on scene, treated Mr. Fluker and transported him to CMC where he was pronounced deceased shortly after arrival.

Officers detained the victim of the home invasion robbery shortly after the shooting and transported him to police headquarters. The individual responsible for the shooting on Ginger Lane is the victim from the home invasion robbery.

Detectives with the Homicide Unit, ADW Unit, Robbery Unit, Gang and Firearm Enforcement Unit and officers with the North Tryon Division conducted a neighborhood canvass. Crime Scene Search was on scene as well collecting physical evidence and photographing the scene.

Homicide Detectives are working closely with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges will be filed against the victim of the robbery who shot Mr. Fluker.

Three suspects are in custody in connection to the home invasion robbery. Their names and charges are as follows:

** Joseph Graves– Charged with 2nd Degree Burglary, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon & Conspiracy to Commit Robbery
** Matthew Everett Morgan– Charged with 2nd Degree Burglary, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon & Conspiracy to Commit Robbery
** Tahjaue Wiley- Charged with 2nd Degree Burglary, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon & Conspiracy to Commit Robbery.


Pennsylvania Constables Have Significant Arrest Authority

December 11, 2008

By Brian K. Lutes of Uniontown, PA, December 11, 2008

This article delves into the authority of Pennsylvania Constables to affect warrantless arrests for crimes committed in their presence. In future articles we will explore the Constables activities in the areas of Process service, Court Security, Training, Vehicle Code Enforcement, and the display of emergency lighting on Constables vehicles as well as other topics.

Contrary to the beliefs of most citizens, law enforcement officers, and even many Constables themselves, Pennsylvania Constables have full authority to make warrantless arrests for crimes in the Commonwealth.

I stress “warrantless arrests” due to the common belief that the only function of Constables, due mostly to ignorance of the laws and court decisions pertaining to Constables, is serving arrest warrants and other documents issued by the courts.

Most often this belief is expressed by, how should I say, the miscreants of our society? Well, however you say it, the bad guys. Usually they express this belief when they are out & about engaging in their less than honorable pursuits and observe someone in a uniform with a badge. The miscreants will stop what they are doing and look closely at the uniform in an effort to determine if the officer may be able to arrest them. Almost without fail when they determine the officer is a Constable, they say to each other “It’s just a Constable” and they go back to their misdeeds without concern.

This perception of Constables must be corrected as sooner or later a Constable who is on his game is going come across a bad guy who honestly believes a Constable cannot arrest him without a warrant and will resist the Constable when told he is under arrest creating a very dangerous situation for the Constable & the suspect.

In addition, Constables can be a very positive factor in law enforcement’s ever increasingly difficult job of getting the bad guys off the street; if they know and understand the authority they can exercise.

The PA Supreme Court has noted in the case of In Re Act 147 of 1990, 528 PA 460,463 (1991) “Constables are Peace Officers charged with the conservation of the peace, and whose job it is to arrest those who have violated it; It is the Constables job to enforce the law and carry it out, just as the same is the job of District Attorneys, Sheriffs, and the police generally”.

The arrest authority of PA Constables is defined generally in PA law in Title 13 of  the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated, commonly referred to as Purdon’s Statutes (P.S.), 45 et seq. which states: “Constables of the Commonwealth, in addition to the powers already conferred upon them, shall and may, without warrant and upon view, arrest and commit for hearing any and all persons guilty of  a breach of the peace, vagrancy, riotous and disorderly conduct or drunkenness,or who may be engaged in the commission of an unlawful act tending to imperil the personal security or endanger the property of the citizens, or violating municipal ordinances, for the violation of which a fine or penalty is imposed. Any person arrested with or without a warrant, shall be entitled to trial.”

   In The case of Commonwealth v. Frombach, 420 Pa Super. 498 (1992) the PA Superior Court determined that the PA Legislature by 13 P.S. 45 et seq. (above), “Conferred on Constables the power to without warrant and upon view, arrest and commit for hearing any and all persons guilty of a breach of the peace.

A breach of the peace has been defined generally as any of “a great variety of conduct destroying or menacing public order and tranquility. It includes not only violent acts but acts and words likely to produce violence in others” (see 310 U.S. 296, 308) In its broadest sense the term refers to any criminal offense, or at least any indictable offense (see 207 U.S. 425). Breaches of the peace have been defined by state courts as “disturbances of the public peace violative of order and decency or decorum (see 147 N.W. 2d 886,892). And as “any violation of any law enacted to preserve peace and good order” and “signifies disorderly, dangerous conduct disruptive of public peace (see 261 A. 2d 731, 739).

In the case of Commonwealth v. Taylor, 450 Pa. Super. 583, 677 A. 2d 846 (1996)the Superior Court, citing the Constables authority to affect warrantless arrests for breaches of the peace, determined that Constables have the authority make arrests for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. (see also Commonwealth v. Corley, 507 Pa. 540,491 A.2d 829 (1985)) where the court held that a private citizen can affect an arrest when a felony has been committed and the citizen reasonably believes that the person he arrests has committed the felony.

In further exploration of the authority of PA Constables it must be noted that in the case of Commonwealth v. McGavin, 305 Pa. Super. 528, 534, 451 A. 2d 773 (1982)the Superior Court held that the statute authorizing  Constables to make warrantless arrests, 13 P.S. 45 et seq. (above),requires that the offense for which the warrantless arrest is made be an offense that (1) is committed within view of the Constable, and (2) constitutes a breach of the peace (described above).

In a real world scenario this seems to indicate that should a Constable observe 2 men fighting in the street, the Constable has authority to make arrests for disorderly conduct, etc., but should a Constable observe a man sitting on a sidewalk bleeding from his nose and upon investigation learns that the man was assaulted by an identified individual, the Constable should secure the scene & protect the victim from further harm and then would need to contact the law enforcement agency for the jurisdiction so that they could make the arrest on information received from the victim since the Constable did not witness the breach of the peace.

Also, in the bloody nosed victim example above, if the victim or a witness  were to point out the person(s) with whom the victim was fighting, it seems  the Constable would be authorized to detain,  not arrest, the individual(s) for investigative purposes. If the Constable decides to detain, not arrest, the accused individual(s), he would be justified in performing a pat down frisk of the individual(s) in an effort to be certain the individual(s) does  not possess dangerous weapons and he may even place the individual(s) in handcuffs while waiting for the arrival of the jurisdictions law enforcement agency (see Commonwealth v. Leet, 537 Pa. 89, 641 A. 2d 299 (1994); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 26, 88 S. Ct. 1868 (1968); Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 116 S. Ct. 1657 (1996); United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 101 S. Ct. 690 (1981).

In short, based on the court’s language in the McGavin case above, it seems that a Constable has authority to make arrests for crimes in progress that he sees taking place.

However, recall that in the Corley case the court held that “even a private citizen can effect an arrest when a felony has been committed and the citizen reasonably believes that the person he arrests has committed the felony”. Note that the court did not say that the citizen must actually observe the felony being committed. Rather, the court said the citizen can affect an arrest for a felony when the citizen reasonably believes that the person he arrests has committed the felony.

 In summation, Pennsylvania Constables are authorized to affect warrantless arrests for breaches of the peace committed in their presence and may detain for investigative purposes individuals they reasonably believe to be engaged in criminal activity.

In addition, Constables, the same as private citizens, may affect an arrest for a felony if he reasonably believes that a felony has been committed and that the person he has arrested committed the felony.

The Purpose of Police in a Free Society

November 21, 2008

By Jack Hays

 It is very easy for law enforcement officers to lose sight of their purpose; With 6 years of experience as a police officer I know this to be true. We often get caught in the vicious trap of trying to do all we can to get the bad guys off of the streets while at the same time trying to protect the good guys in a politically correct manner.

 it is nearly impossible, but somehow we must get the job done, and we do.

 It is not easy enforcing laws in a free society. It would be much easier enforcing laws in a society where the citizens have, what some would call a healthy, fearful respect, of men with badges on their chests. A society where the citizens know that you don’t dare step out of line or the police will show up and make an example of you for all to see. And, if you want to work in that type of society you only need to move to China, Cuba, or any one of several Eastern European countries where law enforcement officers are feared and the citizens step aside when they approach.

 In those societies police officers are looked upon as keepers making sure no one steps outside of the boxes their government masters have drawn for them and making sure that citizens who express displeasure with those same government masters are taken away for re-education before they corrupt their neighbors with crazy notions of freedom of speech and assembly.

 However, thank God we do not live in such a country; at least not yet, and a key determining factor in whether or not we ever will, falls on the shoulders of us, the law enforcers.

 We are the individuals that are on the street, among the people, our neighbors & families, applying the rules of civil society as laid down by our fellow employees of the people, legislators. And it is us that decides whether or not to write the ticket or make the arrest for whatever violation of law we observe or discover; It is our discretion (The reasonable exercise of a power or right to act in an official capacity; involves the idea of choice, of an exercise of the will, 94 N.W. 2d 810, 811).

 Our #1 job while serving our fellow citizens is to live up to our Oath of Office to “Support, Obey and Defend the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same… and I do further solemnly swear that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of law enforcement officer with fidelity”. We have all taken this oath, or something very similar to it, before we ever pinned that precious badge on our chests. But, how many of us ever really thought about and realized the significance of that oath we so willingly took? I fear not enough of us have.

 When we take the oath of office we swear before God that we will, above all else, support, obey, & defend our Constitutions. We do not swear to get the bad guy at all costs. We do not swear to be creative, without technically telling a lie, in our report writing to get the warrant. We do not swear to tell the Chief that the guy swung at us to justify cracking the guy with our flashlights, although those things do understandably sometimes happen. We swear an oath to uphold our Constitutions and the protections therein.

 The Constitutions we have all sworn to uphold are the very foundation of our uniquely American lives. Our Constitutions are the only thing standing between our way of life and the subservient lives of Cubans or the Chinese. Every time our Constitutions are violated our American way of life suffers. It especially suffers when it is violated by those of us that have sworn to uphold it.

 Our purpose as law enforcement officers, every time we put that badge on is to go out and preserve our uniquely American way of life by enforcing, or not enforcing, our laws in accord with our oaths to the Constitutions.

  We, I say we because those of us who are charged with enforcing the laws are subject to those same laws, as Americans, have a right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” and when those rights are violated by someone who murders, steals, assaults, or kidnaps one of our fellow citizens we show up taking action to live up to our oaths by arresting the individual, depriving them of their liberty, pursuit of happiness, and possibly their life, for violating the rights of the victim(s), not technically killing the victim, but for violating the victim’s right to life.

 We also, as a result of our oaths to support, obey, & defend the Constitutions have a responsibility to not enforce, by exercising our prosecutorial discretion (defined as “The wide range of alternatives available to a prosecutor in criminal cases, including the decision to prosecute, the particular charges to be brought, etc… or not to prosecute (see Lafave, Arrest 72 (1965)), laws passed by the legislatures that violate our Constitutions. Consider this: “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, whether federal or state, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose, since unconstitutionally dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it” (16th American Jurisprudence, 256, 2nd edition).

 For example, say the town council adopts an ordinance, which our courts have defined as “A local law that applies to persons and things subject to the local jurisdiction” (see 90 F. 2d 175, 177) that says no one in the town is allowed to possess a gun for any reason and that law is put on the books in the town. We as law enforcement officers can rightly refuse to enforce the law because it is in violation of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “…The right of the people to keep & bear arms shall not be infringed” and Article 1 Section 21 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of PA “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned” that we took an oath to obey. 

 Our purpose in our free society is to insure that we, as citizens and law enforcers, remain free not just from molestation of our lives by the “bad guys”, but from those who would destroy our American way of life under the guise of lawmaking in our legislatures.