COURT: Traffic cops must operate in their jurisdiction - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

COURT: Traffic cops must operate in their jurisdiction

Georgia Supreme Court (WALB image) Georgia Supreme Court (WALB image)
ATLANTA, GA (WALB) -

With an opinion today by the Georgia Supreme Court, police officers around the state may no longer make traffic arrests outside their department’s jurisdiction.

In today’s unanimous decision on ZILKE v. THE STATE, written by Justice Robert Benham, the high court has reversed a Georgia Court of Appeals decision and ruled in favor of a man who argued that his 2013 arrest by a university police officer for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) was invalid because it occurred more than 500 yards off campus.  

According to the facts of the case, in the early morning hours of May 5, 2013, Bajrodin Zilke was stopped and arrested on Powder Springs Road in Marietta by Officer Decari Mason, a “POST-certified” (Peace Officer Standards and Training Council) police officer employed by Kennesaw State University.

With today’s decision, the high court has overruled its 1984 decision in  Glazner v. State, and subsequent rulings based on Glazner to the extent they hold that § 17-4-23 (a) authorizes any law enforcement officer, including a campus police officer, to make an arrest and take the person into custody “outside the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency by which he is employed.”

“We agree that Officer Mason had no authority to effect a custodial arrest of appellant outside the jurisdiction conferred by § 20-3-72,” today’s opinion says. But he also lacked authority under § 17-4-23 (a), the opinion says.

Attorney for Appellant (Zilke): David Willingham of the Willingham Law Firm, P.C., and Bimal Chopra and Steven Cook.
Attorneys for Appellees (State): Barry Morgan, Solicitor-General, Deborah Tatum, Dep. Chief Asst. Solicitor-General, and Mimi Scaljon, Asst. Solicitor-General. 

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