Twin brothers who work as security guards have been officially 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. Both faced felony charges, including criminal impersonation of an officer, harassment and assault before the state dropped the charges against one brother because of an uncooperative victim, and the other brother was found not guilty for the other.
A Jackson County Circuit Court jury on Wednesday found Donald Libby not guilty of two counts of impersonating an officer following a three-day trial before Judge Benjamin Bloom.
"A jury of my peers found me not guilty," Libby said. "With all the evidence that the state brought to the table, there was nothing that said I had committed any crimes."
Medford police spotted Libby while he was on patrol for Jackson County Security near Camina Drive and Veneto Circle at 11:13 p.m. on Jan. 8, said Lt. Mike Budreau at the time.
Libby, driving an unmarked black Ford Crown Victoria, was reportedly 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 an 18-year-old passenger in the car to get out while he quizzed them about intoxicants. Because Libby's uniform looked like a police uniform, the teens complied with limited field sobriety tests, but Libby told the driver he could be arrested for DUII and trespassing, Budreau said.
Private citizens cannot administer DUII tests, Budreau said, but they can detain someone for being under the influence before turning them over to police.
Libby was later arrested and charged with the two class C felonies.
Libby's 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.
Libby's twin, Jason Libby, said the teen was told at the time of the alleged incident that Donald Libby was a security officer. And his brother did nothing unlawful in the performance of his duties as a security officer, Jason Libby said.
Harassment and fourth-degree assault charges against Jason Libby related to a separate incident that allegedly occurred a day earlier were dropped on June 27. Two counts of criminal impersonation were dismissed in February, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz.
"We had a less-than-cooperative victim in that case," Markiewicz said.
Libby was facing the charges because of an alleged altercation he had with a man and woman during an arrest attempt in front of Weldon's Cleaners at 11:39 p.m. on Jan. 7, according to police reports.
Jackson County Security is contracted to patrol the business, police said. Jason Libby allegedly tried to arrest a 40-year-old man as he came out of the cleaners.
Dressed in a uniform with a badge, gun and baton, Libby handcuffed the man for trespassing because he had used the business' restroom but wasn't a customer. Surveillance video appears to show Libby pushing 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 the 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 said they will continue to perform their duties as security guards, stating they never broke any laws.
"Everything we did was lawful," Jason Libby said. "I don't know how we even got into trouble."
Donald Libby said he wishes his brother's case could have gone to trial so that he could have the satisfaction of hearing a "not guilty" verdict read in court, he said.
"We wanted to go to trial on his," he said.
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.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.