Defendants have the right for the jury to know about the right to resist an unlawful arrest
In defending against prosecutions for (1) resisting arrest and (2) failure to obey police orders to submit to their authority, a key preliminary question is whether the police in the first place had (1) probable cause to arrest or (2) lawful authority to make the command to submit to their authority.
Today, Maryland’s Court of Appeals highlighted the necessity of instructing the jury on one’s right to resist an unlawful arrest when that defense has been generated. Arthur v. Maryland, ___ Md. ___ (July 13, 2011). Unfortunately, Arthur’s trial judge refused to give such a jury instruction, and the Court of Appeals reversed for that trial court error.