The Army reservist who was jailed for holding seven illegal aliens at gunpoint until Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff’s deputies arrived will not be prosecuted as the action was determined to be a legal citizen’s arrest.
County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced his decision today that Sgt. Patrick Haab did not commit a crime. He had been charged with seven counts of aggravated assault.
“This is a unique case with a very unique set of circumstances, and after a full analysis of the issues involved and the applicable law, prosecution is not appropriate,” said Thomas.
Haab said he was acting in self-defense.
Arizona law conveys the legal right to make a citizen’s arrest if a felony is being committed in the citizen’s presence or a felony has been committed and the citizen has reasonable grounds to be believe the subject has committed it.
Thomas pointed out that one of the individuals arrested by Haab, has been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with engaging in human smuggling. The other six engaged in felony conduct by conspiring with the alleged “coyote.”
Haab told authorities that he drew a pistol to stop a group of men from rushing him at an Interstate 8 rest stop. The men later were determined to be illegal aliens from Mexico.
“This is not a green light to intimidate, threaten or detain anyone merely suspected of being in this country illegally,” said Thomas. “Mere presence in the U.S. illegally is a crime, but not in itself a felony, so other factors must be present in order to justify a citizen’s arrest. In this case, the other factor was the human smuggling.”