I understand that Texas Rangers are responsible for killing Bonnie& Clyde in North Louisiana. Is it lawful for a Texas Police Agent to engage a citizen in New York City?

1 Answer 1


Answering the question title, a Texas law enforcement officer can certainly make arrests in Louisiana these days under the right circumstances (I'm not about to look up the laws as of 1934). For starters, Louisiana law grants any person the authority to make an arrest when the person being arrested has committed a felony, whether or not that felony was committed in the presence of the person making the arrest. This is normally a legally risky thing to do (the arrest is illegal unless the person actually committed a felony, while a cop's felony arrest is legal as long as the cop had probable cause), but in this case the pair had been involved in a kidnapping and a robbery in Louisiana. Any person could have made a lawful arrest, and could have used necessary force to effect that arrest.

But suppose the gang turned out to be innocent of the Louisiana crimes. In that case, a citizen's arrest would be illegal. But the Texas lawmen weren't at the ambush alone. They were there with the parish sheriff and a deputy, who were Louisiana peace officers with the authority to make an arrest on probable cause. And under Article 219 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,

A peace officer making a lawful arrest may call upon as many persons as he considers necessary to aid him in making the arrest. A person thus called upon shall be considered a peace officer for such purposes.

Neither of these things depends on the Texas officers' status as Texas officers. There are some arrests which are legal based on that (e.g. hot pursuit), and a Texas officer has some extra powers in Louisiana based on federal law that make an arrest easier (e.g. cops in the US can carry concealed firearms nationwide without needing a CCW permit), but under normal circumstances a Texas police officer has no special authority to make an arrest in Louisiana.

However, it's not at all uncommon for police agencies in different states (or at the state and federal level) to cooperate on something, and there are ways to make it work out. With more planning, there are normally formal ways to do it instead of needing to rely on "we'll ask you for assistance" (for instance, officers could formally be appointed as deputies in the appropriate agency; this happens a lot on federal task forces, where a deputized state or local cop gets nationwide jurisdiction). If Bonnie and Clyde existed these days but the feds wanted to involve state cops, they'd just set up a federal task force, make Hamer a special deputy US marshal, and go from there.

  • Isn't due process (conviction or plea) required to determine a felony act? Once a felon completes his sentence, he is still a felon; so, to say that any person has the authority to make an arrest when the person being arrested has committed a felony seems a bit too unqualified. Jul 21, 2016 at 3:35
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "seems a bit too unqualified." Can you elaborate?
    – cpast
    Jul 21, 2016 at 3:58
  • I mean that is it reads, it is imprecise and inaccurate. As written one is led to believe that anyone can arrest anyone in Louisiana (as every American adult has committed a felony in their life) Jul 21, 2016 at 4:04
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    @RonRoyston First, not every American adult has committed a felony in their life, let alone one where the statute of limitations isn't up (those are a thing), and let alone one which can be the basis of a warrantless Louisiana arrest (federal offenses may or may not count, I'm not entirely clear, but crimes in other states almost certainly do not).
    – cpast
    Jul 21, 2016 at 4:24
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    @RonRoyston, a felon is a person who has been convicted of a felony, not a person who you can wildly imagine possibly being convicted of a felony given a completely corrupt legal system.
    – user6726
    Jul 21, 2016 at 4:55

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