OCTOBER 31, 2021 

The passing of Georgia House Bill 479, which removes the controversial and outdated law of "citizen arrest," is an important step towards promoting justice and equality in the state. The bill was a response to the killing of Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, a Black man who was chased down and fatally shot by a group of white men while jogging in his own neighborhood. The perpetrators claimed they were attempting a citizen's arrest, a defense that is now inadmissible in court under the new law. This change is crucial because citizen's arrest has a long history of being abused, particularly in cases involving racial profiling and discrimination.

The removal of citizen's arrest from Georgia's laws was met with widespread support from civil rights groups, legal experts, and everyday citizens. Many saw it as a necessary step towards creating a more just and equitable criminal justice system, one that protects the rights of all individuals and does not allow for vigilante justice. However, the passing of the bill in Georgia does not mean that citizen's arrest laws are abolished throughout the country. In fact, many states still have similar laws on their books, including the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The question of how a change of party in the Governor's mansion would affect the use of arrest by private citizens in Virginia is an interesting one, as it highlights the role of politics in shaping the legal landscape. While it is impossible to predict with certainty what would happen in such a scenario, it is likely that a change in leadership would have an impact on the state's laws around citizen's arrest. If a new Governor were to be elected who is committed to progressive criminal justice reforms, they may push for the repeal or amendment of Virginia's citizen's arrest laws.

It is worth noting that the issue of citizen's arrest is not just a matter of political ideology, but also one of public safety. The use of citizen's arrest can lead to dangerous situations, as untrained and unlicensed individuals attempt to detain suspected criminals. In many cases, these situations escalate and result in violence or injury, both for the individuals involved and for bystanders. Removing citizen's arrest from state laws can help to reduce the risk of these incidents and promote safer communities.

In conclusion, the passing of Georgia House Bill 479 to remove citizen's arrest is an important step towards promoting justice and equality in the state. However, the existence of similar laws in other states, such as Virginia, highlights the need for ongoing advocacy and reform efforts to ensure that all individuals are protected under the law. A change in political leadership can have a significant impact on the legal landscape, and it is important for citizens to remain engaged and informed about the issues affecting their communities. Ultimately, the goal should be to create a criminal justice system that is fair, just, and equitable for all.



  • The Georgia House Bill 479 gets rid of the controversial "citizen arrest" law. The killers of Ahmaud Arbery used this law.

  • We can make our communities safer by getting rid of citizen's arrests.

  • Virginia has similar laws, and a change in political leadership can change that. The criminal justice system needs reform and advocacy.