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ORS 133.225 (Arrest by private person), subsection 1, says in part, emphasis added:

A private person may arrest another person for any crime committed in the presence of the private person if the private person has probable cause to believe the arrested person committed the crime.

What exactly does "in the presence of the private person" mean? If the private person was made aware of the crime by hearing something indicative of the crime, but did not actually see it happen, is a citizen's arrest allowed?

2 Answers 2

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It means with the person right there when the crime happens

Learning about a crime that happened when you weren’t there does not allow a private arrest - only constables at common law or others enabled by statute have that power.

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If the private person was made aware of the crime by hearing something indicative of the crime, but did not actually see it happen, is a citizen's arrest allowed?

If the private person was present at the commission of the crime, and heard it but didn't see it, and the sounds heard by the person (or any other facts) gave the person probable cause to believe that the arrested person had committed the crime, that would satisfy the requirement of the statute.

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  • @jen, I think this answer is geared more towards a scenario like sounds of a struggle and possibly a gunshot coming from the next room, and a person hearing this to enter the room to find a dead victim and person with a gun in their hand. (Having probable cause without seeing what happened). The intent isn't DEI for the blind. In fact i struggle to imagine a realistic scenario where a blind person could make an arrest. Mar 25 at 15:22
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    @MichaelHall that is almost exactly the situation I was thinking of.
    – Someone
    Mar 25 at 15:25
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    @MichaelHall The blind person hears John threaten Mary and then hears shots fired, then hears John shouting as he walks towards the door. Blind person extends a leg tripping John as he walks through the door and the blind person grabs John holding both of John's arms tight until help arrives.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 25 at 23:51
  • @Someone if the crime happens in the next room, then the court would have to decide whether that counts as "in the presence of" based on the facts. I do not know whether there is any precedent on that point, but it seems likely. Even still, the precedent likely establishes some circumstances that must be tested, perhaps whether the door was open, or what have you. Obviously, in a huge room such as a large arena, being in the same room needn't imply "in the presence of," and being in two adjacent small rooms needn't imply the opposite, especially if the door between them is open.
    – phoog
    Mar 26 at 9:21

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