Twin brothers who work as security guards have been cleared of criminal charges that they overstepped their duties in two separate cases. And they say their business is booming.
Jason Lee Libby and Donald Eugene Libby, both 30, are the chief financial officer and chief operations officer, respectively, for Jackson County Security. The two faced felony charges ranging from criminal impersonation of an officer to harassment and assault stemming from two separate cases early this year.
A Jackson County Circuit Court jury today found Donald Libby not guilty of two counts of impersonating an officer following a three-day jury trial before Judge Benjamin Bloom. The case against Jason Libby was dropped because the alleged victim refused to cooperate.
Medford police spotted Donald Libby patrolling near Camina Drive and Veneto Circle at 11:13 p.m. Jan. 8, said Lt. Mike Budreau at the time.
Libby, driving an unmarked black Ford Crown Victoria, was standing in front of another vehicle, shining a flashlight at the 18-year-old male driver and demanding he stop, Budreau said.
Libby allegedly ordered the driver and another 18-year-old man in the car to get out while he quizzed them about intoxicants, then told the driver he could be arrested for DUII and trespassing, Budreau said.
Budreau said private citizens cannot administer DUII tests, but they can detain someone for being under the influence.
Libby was later arrested and charged with the two class-C felonies.
Libby's defense attorney Nathan Wente said the jury acquitted his client because they understood he did not impersonate a police officer that night. Nor did he overstep his duties as a security guard.
"There is no evidence of that at all," Wente said.
Prosecutor Lacie Nelson said the law requires the state to prove Libby knowingly and intentionally used false law enforcement identification or wore a law enforcement uniform to give the impression that he was a peace officer, and that he did so with the intent to obtain a benefit or to defraud. The state maintains Libby did not have lawful authority to perform sobriety tests, she said.
"But the jury struggled with the language. They were hard-pressed to figure out what was unlawful," Nelson said.
Harassment and fourth-degree assault charges against Jason Libby related to a separate alleged incident in January were dropped on June 27. Two counts of criminal impersonation were dismissed in February, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz said.
"We had a less than cooperative victim in that case," Markiewicz said.
Libby faced the charges because of an alleged altercation he had with a man and woman in front of Weldon's Cleaners at 11:39 p.m Jan. 7, according to police reports.
Jackson County Security is contracted to patrol the business, police said. Dressed in a uniform with a badge, gun and baton, Jason Libby allegedly tried to arrest a 40-year-old man for trespassing as the man came out of the cleaners after using the restroom even though he wasn't a customer.
Surveillance video appears to show Libby push the handcuffed man, who hadn't posed any previous problems at the laundry, police said.
A 54-year-old woman then told the handcuffed man that Libby was not a police officer, as she'd had a previous run-in with Libby. Libby allegedly threatened to arrest the woman for trespassing, too. Police said he pushed her up against his vehicle and used a wrist lock to detain her. The man tried to leave the scene in handcuffs, and Libby chased him down to bring him back to the scene. Police arrived on scene soon after to sort out the incident and no trespassing charges were filed, Budreau said.
Private security personnel have the same rights that any citizen would have when it comes to power of arrest. They can detain suspects, just as anyone who witnesses a crime can. But before you can arrest somebody for trespass, you must allow them the opportunity to leave, Budreau said.
Jason and Donald Libby say they will continue to perform their duties as security guards, stating they never broke any laws.
Jason Libby said their company lost only a couple of clients over the negative publicity related to their cases. In fact, he said, business has never been better.
"Our company has just blossomed," Jason Libby said.
— Sanne Specht
Read more in Thursday's Mail Tribune.