I was astonished to find in Erin Hogan’s piece on the masturbation criminal [October 27] that the state’s attorney, judge, defendant’s attorneys, and arresting University of Chicago and Chicago cops all made an issue of whether or not the U. of C. cop had the right to make an arrest off campus.

Thought everyone knew that, under Illinois law, any citizen can make an arrest anywhere in the state for a Chapter 38 violation–that is, violation of state criminal law, which the public masturbation clearly was. (Remember? Citizen’s arrest?)

Only a peace officer (i.e., policeman, sheriff, state trooper) can make an arrest for violation of city ordinance. This was why the City of Chicago felt called upon to limit the arrest powers of U. of C. police. But they have no such limitation when making an arrest under state law.

Get it?

I’d be curious to know what judge was so dumb as not to know this. And that the state’s attorney and the other coppers all saw this as a controversy–well, there must have been something in the ventilation system.

Neil Elliott