A.R.S. 12-820.02(A)(1) Interpretation

In Clouse ex rel. Clouse v. State, 199 Ariz. 196, 16 P.3d 757 (2001), the Arizona Supreme Court did not specifically address the scope of A.R.S. § 12-820.02(A)(1), but rather focused on the primary issue raised of whether the statute constituted an impermissible abrogation of a "common law" right to bring an action for injuries against the government. 199 Ariz. at 197, P1, 16 P.3d at 758.

Nonetheless, we note that the underlying facts in Clouse allegedly giving rise to liability involved the failure of one or more law enforcement agencies to file a criminal complaint against an individual who committed crimes in adjoining Arizona counties. Id. at PP2-3.

That individual was arrested and detained in one county, and was in the process of being transferred to the other county when the lack of a filed criminal complaint was discovered. Id. at P3.

Following the apparent dictates of Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 4.1, the prisoner was released by the side of the highway. Id.

He fled Arizona, but then committed multiple grievous crimes, including murder, in New Mexico. Id. at 197-98, PP3-4, 16 P.3d at 758-59.

A civil action was brought in Arizona to recover damages against various government agencies and employees. Id. at 198, P5, 16 P.3d at 759.

The trial court applied A.R.S. § 12-820.02 (A)(1), and was ultimately affirmed by the supreme court. Id. at 204, P29, 16 P.3d at 765.

In its opinion, the supreme court characterized the failure to file the criminal complaint as a failure to retain an arrested person in custody, thus triggering the application of A.R.S. § 12-820.02(A)(1). Id. at 203, P26, 16 P.3d at 765.