SAN FRANCISCO -- Police in California may not take into custody someone cited for a mere infraction unless the person lacks identification or refuses to sign a written promise to appear in court or provide a fingerprint, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The decision by the U.S. 9thCircuit Court of Appeals clears the way for a man arrested for trespassing to obtain financial compensation from San Francisco for being hauled to the police station and searched before being released.
An infraction, which is less serious than a misdemeanor, is punishable by a fine and does not appear on a criminal record.
Wednesday's ruling stemmed from the 2000 arrest of Erris Edgerly after San Francisco police spotted him standing inside a playground near a housing project where he did not live. The fenced playground had “No Trespassing” signs at each entrance.