Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
The police officers are generally protected from liability under a theory of governmental immunity for discretionary acts done within the scope of their duty. Decisions relating to when and how to arrest a suspect, for example, are discretionary. It is necessary only to show that an officer reasonably believes that a violation of a law is in progress, even if it is later shown that the officer was mistaken.
As to hugging your wife, that was uncalled for and unprofessional. It should probably be reported to his supervisor by filing a formal written complaint.
From what you are saying, it would appear that he had no reasonable basis upon which to rely to issue a trespass citation. But then that leads to an inquiry as to how he knew you were out there. If he just met you by happen stance and issued the permits, he very well may have acted without reasonable belief that a violation of the law was in progress. However, if the owner of the land called him out there and told him you were tresspassing, the officier may have what would qualify as a reasonable basis even if the owner failed to post boundary markers. You got a shot at it, but it is not clear cut when it comes to a discretionary issue analysis and if his fellow officers testify that he acted reasonably as experts in the field, you may have to find a counter expert. It just depends on how much you want to spend to teach the guy a lesson.
If you want you can sue the officer for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and reckless conduct. There is also a tort cause of action for wrongful / false arrest. I have not found anything for a wrongful citiation. These are potential civil remedies that you have. All of these civil causes of action are subject to the pit falls of governmental immunity defense that I discussed with you earlier.
Please click "Accept" so that I may get credit for my work. We can continue our conversation after that at no additional charge.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).