State v. Gardiner

In State v. Gardiner, 814 P.2d 568, 575 (Utah 1991), a case involving physical resistance, the Court noted that the justification for the common law right to resist an unlawful arrest or seizure had disappeared and that therefore the right has been repudiated in Utah. 814 P.2d at 573-74 (stating that right to resist unlawful police conduct rejected as defense to crime when common law defenses were supplanted by specifically codifying recognized defenses). Quoting the New Mexico Supreme Court, the Court stated: "Self-help measures undertaken by a potential defendant who objects to the legality of the search can lead to violence and serious physical injury. The societal interest in the orderly settlement of disputes between citizens and their government outweighs any individual interest in resisting a questionable search. One can reasonably be asked to submit peaceably and to take recourse in his legal remedies." Id. at 572 (quoting State v. Doe, 92 N.M. 100, 583 P.2d 464, 466-67 (N.M. 1978)). The Court held that the common-law right to forcefully resist an arrest has been repudiated in Utah. Id. at 573. In that case, the defendant, Gardiner, was convicted of assaulting an officer, in violation of section 76-5-102.4, and interfering with an arresting officer, in violation of section 76-8-305. Id. 814 P.2d at 569. The defendant punched an officer who was attempting to make an unlawful search and became more violent when the officer attempted to arrest him. Id. The Court held that a defendant does not have a right to forcefully resist an arrest, whether the arrest be lawful or not, so long as the officer is acting within the scope of his or her authority and with adequate indicia of authority. Id. at 573-75.