Cite as Kosrae State vs. George, Kosrae St.(1988)

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Chief Justice
November 16, 1988


For the Plaintiff:      Aliksa B. Aliksa
                State Prosecutor
                Tofol, Kosrae  96944

For the Defendant:      Rison Wakuk  
               Trial Counselor  
               Utwe, Kosrae 96944

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Harry H. Skilling, Chief Justice

     The defendant Webster George, was charged with two counts in thus criminal action:

     I. False Arrest - KC 13.304, and
     II. Disturbing the Peace - KC 13.503

     The defendant entered a plea of not guilty to both counts and accounts and was held on September 15, 1988.
     Blased upon the evidence presented at trial, the Court makes the -LEollola,'_ng findings of fact:

     [1] The defendant is a businessman who owns some car rental units. He also owns a retail store in Tafunsak. Defendant attached distinctive identifying stickers to these rental cars. During January of 1988, these rental cars, with stickers attached, were parked near the Kosrae airport teminal.

     [2] During January of 1988, defendant discovered that some of these stickers hade been removed from his rental cars parked at the airport.

     [3]During this period in January of 1988, Mrs. Satsiko Lew Brooks and some of her children went to the Kosrae terminal to visit their friends who were leaviing the State of Kosrae.

     [4]On January 20, 1988, after the above mentioned trip to the terminal, Mrs. Brooks and her sister, Mrs. Sina Noda, went to the defendant's store in Tafunsak for the purpose of shopping. Mrs. Brooks parked her Suzuki jeep outside defendant's

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store and she and her sister seated themselves on a bench inside the store which had been provided for customers.

     [5] The defendant, who was inside his store at the time, noticed that Mrs. Brooks' jeep had stickers attached to its side and he recognized them as the ones missing from his rental car units. The defendant then approached Mrs. Brooks and called her "stealer" and he appeared to be angry. The defendant then told some of his employees to go get water and to pour it into Mrs. Brooks jeep.

     [6] At this time defendant demanded that Mrs. Brooks pay for  value of the stickers. Mrs. Brooks responded by telling the defendant that she was not aware that his stickers were on her jeep and she apologized to the defendant. She also asked the defendant how much he wanted her to pay for the stickers. The defendant_told_her the stickers cost fif- ty dollars ($50.00 ) . Defendant thereupon demanded that Mrs. Brooks pay him fifty dollars and he further stated “do not leave the place until you pay the amount.”

     [7] While defendant scolded Mrs. Brooks inside the store, she was crying and advised the defencant that the stickers could have been removed by her kids but she not know that defendants stickers were attached to her car  until that day she went shopping.

     [8] Mrs. Brooks did not have sufficient cash with her at that time to pay the fifty dollars ($50.00) demanded by the defendant. Mrs. Brooks wanted to leave but would not leave because of the defendant's demand that she remain until the money

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was paid. She remained in the store for less than one hour. However, Mrs. Brooks' sister, Mrs. Noda, did have sufficient money with her to loan Mrs. Brooks in order that Mrs. Brooks could pay the $50.00 demanded by the defendant. Mrs. Brooks then paid the defendant fifty dollars (50.00) whereupon she left the store.

     [9] Before leaving the store, Mrs. Brooks again attempted to apologize to the defendant but he would not accept it. A few days later Mrs. Brooks again went to the defendant and tried_apologize and again the defendant would not accept it.

     Based upon the two counts charged against the defendant and the evidence introduced at the trial, this court must decide if there was  sufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict on both of the two counts.

     With regard to the charge of false arrest, from a careful examination of the entire record and testimony of the witnesses, the court believes there was clear and positive testimony that the defendant, upon discovering the missing stickers attached to Mrs. Brooks’ jeep, approached Mrs. Brooks and demanded “do not leave the place until you pay the amount”. Plaintiff wanted to leave but understood that she could not because she did not have sufficient cash to pay the fifty dollars demanded byt defendant. Her sister came to her rescue and loaned her the money which secured her release from the defendan's verbal detention.

     It is the Court's belief that this evidence clearly warrants a finding of guilty on the count of false arrest.

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Section 13.304 of the Kosrae Criminal Code provides, in part, as follows:

     "False-arrest is detaining another without authority by force and against his will."

     A person can be found guilty if such detention and force restrains the liberty of another person against their will.

     This Court believes that words alone, when taken in the context of the time, place and manner expressed, can constitute the element of force required to sustain a conviction for false imprisonment. If such words are expressed in a manner that can act to forceably detain a person from the liberty of movement, such words constitute force and the detention resulting therefrom false arrest under Section 13.304 of the Kosrae Constitution Code. Common sense tells us that a person is not required to risk being subjected_to physical abuse in order to determine whether the verbal command will be physically enforced.The Court  believes that, in this situation,  words were used in just such a manner as to constitute the element of force required for the crime of false arrest. Clearly, the defendant has no authority to detain Mrs. Brooks and prevent her from leaving his store. She was forced to stay against her will even if not as a result of the application of direct physical force. Such actions on the part of the defendant constitute the commission of the crime of false arrest.

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     With regard to the charge of disturbing the peace, this Court finds that there was insufficient evidence introduced at trial to support a conviction.


     It is therefore the judgment of this Court that tile defendant is guilty of the crime of false arrest. It is the further judgment of this Court that the defendant is not guilty of the crime of disturbing the peace.

     SO ORDERED the 15th day of November, 1988.

Harry H. Skilling
Chief Justice
Kosrae State Court

     Entered this 16th day of November, 1988.

Clerk of Court, Kosrae