The ATV-Trespass Problem

(The Other "Invasion" of the Territory of United States)


[with a post-script commentary by Arizona Sheriff Larry A. Dever]


compiled by Mark R. Ferran BSEE scl JD mcl


This essay collects articles about the ATV-Trespass problem occurring in New York and throughout the United States and Canada, and about the way some landowners are lawfully resisting intrusions by ATV-trespassers.  Typical situations:

1) [Pittstown, Rensselaer County, NY]  "Phil Kelly ... finds himself constantly chasing off and being threatened by illegal hunters and all-terrain vehicle riders on his posted property. ... The landowner said

 ATV riders began cutting through and even stealing gates off of one section of his property ... They destroyed around $6,000 worth of gates .... "I've had neighbors and people at the Country Store threaten to burn me out and put a bullet in me ["and that other (Landowner), Ferran]" Kelly said. "Little did I know serious they were." [They burned down his storage barn and attempted to enter his home at midnight]  "It's like something out of 'Deliverance'. ... the State Police ... make me feel like the criminal instead of the victim."

2) A Farmer stopped a group of riders and told them to leave. He was beaten up.

3) "ARSON. A male on Rutland Way, Stephentown [Rensselaer County, NY], said his vehicle, which was parked along a trail to deter ATV use, was damaged by fire. Officer: Trooper Steve Kovaleski." Albany (NY) Times Union, Police Blotter (Wed. July 28, 1999 p. F2)


4)  ATVs are frequently used by Marijuana "Farmers" and other intentionally-masked criminals.  "All the dopers want is a new ... ATV to drive up to their patch."

     "Since 1998, the state line between Kentucky and Virginia has become a crisscross of trails created by all-terrain vehicles used by growers to get to their marijuana plots...."

    "The cultivators are 'quite frankly, very wealthy: Four-wheel drive trucks ... ATV's. They usually have expensive toys. [M]arijuana growers often carry firearms.'"

       In Rensselaer County, NY, ATVs appeal to the "cultivators" and all other sorts of "recreational" criminals who can use them to trespass, commit acts of violence or arson, and escape arrest anonymously wearing full-face masks: "Members of the State Police Community Narcotics Team, the Troy Police, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Rensselaer County District attorney's office [arrested] four suspects [ages 22, 24, 25, and 33] thought to be connected in a mid- to upper level cocaine-dealing operation.  Authorities recovered an AK-47 rifle, a 9mm and a 45 caliber handgun [and] two ATVs and a snowmobile allegedly purchased with the proceeds from drug sales."   Troy Record, Nov. 28, 2002.  (Landowners can't know the extent of the evil that hides behind the face mask and helmet of an unknown ATV-trespasser, and landowners should be prepared to defend themselves during any personal confrontations with them).

This essay collects many similar articles and a discussion of the New York statutes that authorize citizens to forcibly stop and to perform citizen's arrests of ATV-offenders in NY. Save, and print copies of the linked articles in case they cease to be maintained online. Feel free to forward or post.

In 1988, Time Magazine described how "roaring ATVs are shattering the peace" and introduced America to a lawless subculture whose members presume that by buying (or stealing) an "all terrain" vehicle, they are entitled to intrude upon "all terrain":
"Villages on Missouri's Black River ... used to be oases of tranquillity, the destination of weekend canoeists, tube floaters and fishermen. No longer. All too often the solitude of the Ozarks wilderness is shattered these days by the whine and rumble of powerful engines. ... Locals call it "the Invasion." The ... four-wheel vehicles, running up and down the riverbed with abandon. ... For the ATV crowd, it was all just good fun. But for conservationists and others interested in keeping the river pristine, the Invasion is a nightmare ... and the law has failed to halt the nightmare. "These things destroy the ecology of the river," says Larry Koeler, a Centerville lawyer, of the ATVs. ... Horror stories abound. Former River Guide Eric Dunn recalls ... "a young boy tried to run down me and my wife and son." ...  County Sheriff Gary Barton ... and his two deputies can hardly make a dent in the rampant ATV challenge. On Memorial Day weekend they wrote scores of tickets to ATV riders who trespassed on private property or were intoxicated. ...  The sheriff, who owns three ATVs himself, takes no chances. "I don't equip my patrol car with a regular rifle," he says. "I have an M-16. I leave it in the patrol car where you can see it. You have to make a show of force." Although the state conservation commission sent five agents into Reynolds County to help Barton out, it was not enough of a show to make much difference. "The ATVs still go anywhere they want."  ... Sierra Club Director Hattoy charges that the ATVs permanently scar the land, kill wildlife and destroy vegetation, as well as cause noise, safety and pollution problems. Says he: "... no one has the right to chase jackrabbits until their hearts explode, or roar over desert turtles." ATV Enthusiast Buddy Bray sees it differently. "I don't believe riding ATVs destroys the desert," he says. "All you kill is the bushes."
Time, 6/13/88 (Invaders on The Black River). 

"Kids are out there five evenings a week running over everything including the cactus. They just don't seem to care."  ATVs stir dust, controversy, The Arizona Republic (July 22, 2003) (or try this link)

    On the sand dunes of the Albany (NY) Pine Bush, trespassing ATVs kill the wild "bushes" called wild Blue Lupine, and so they ultimately kill the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly that depend on the bushes. In 1998, the Albany (NY) Times Union described the "serious" ATV problem in the Albany Pine Bush ecosystem:
"The Karner blue butterfly is slowly losing its fight to survive in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, one of the species' last remaining natural habitats in the United States. The killer: humans. The latest tool of destruction: the all-terrain vehicle.  The azure-winged butterflies, about the size of a quarter, are being threatened by burly ATVs illegally churning through the property, Pine Bush officials said Tuesday.  As they pop wheelies and spin doughnut-shaped grooves into the earth, ATV riders are also mowing down the wild blue lupine, the only plant that Karner caterpillars eat, said Preserve Steward Joel Hecht. ``If you impact the plant, you're going to directly impact the Karner blue butterfly,'' he said.  This region was once home to hundreds of thousands of the flying blue lepidoptera... Now, there are only a few hundred in the Pine Bush. ... The species is listed by the federal government as ENDANGERED.  ATVs aren't permitted in the 2,400-acre Pine Bush, said ... Ranger Joseph Hess, the lone DEC officer patrolling the preserve. But ... riders ignore posted signs. Anyone caught riding a vehicle over Pine Bush land could face a $100 fine and up to 15 days in jail, Hess said. ...  'Without intervention, they will be lost.''"
Albany (NY) Times Union, September 2, 1998, by Paul Zielbauer. (Title/subtitle:  "ATVS A MENACE IN KARNER BLUE'S BACK YARD Vehicles threaten butterfly's food source in Pine Bush, officials say")

("New England's only wild population" of the endangered Karner blue butterfly "appears to have died out")

   The "lone ranger" in the Albany Pine Bush has not evolved the super-human ability to enforce the law in all parts of his territory at the same time.  But the ATV industry has been busy flooding the land with ATVs.  ATV manufacturers knowingly place ATVs into the hands of people ready, willing, and able to intrude upon any and "all" unguarded public or private "terrain".

   "Industry-wide ATV retail sales increased during the first quarter [of 2001] in spite of the concerns of a slowing economic environment."   "American Honda's ATV sales also soared in 2000, ending the year at 211,152, an increase of 29.6%. Once again Honda exceeded the ATV industry's healthy growth rate of 18.8%..."  Arctic Cat Dealers advertised in 2002:  "New this year!! A smaller ATV just for kids!!"  (And already:   "Boy, 12, killed in ATV crash" ( June 7, 2002) ; "9-year-old Boy killed in ATV accident" (July 7. 2003); (6-year-old Boy killed driving ATV into ditch) ( June 6, 2003)


"This [ATV -Trespass] problem is going to get worse and worse." "A lot of the time, the problem is that they're usually kids riding them, and the ATVs are bought for them by their parents, who may or may not know, or may not care if their kids are riding legally."

ATVs Becoming Big Problem


" 'The problem is that [Police] can't [enforce the Law] on private property.' 'There's only so much that you can do legislatively, some of it has to be parental responsibility.'    Enacting more laws at this point is not going to do anything," said Maurice Sargent of Surry, president of ATV Maine, a statewide interest group. "The responsibility has got to be put where it belongs," Sargent said. "The laws are great - let the parents of teenagers stop them from doing this." [M]any parents don't realize that a decision to let their young child ride an ATV is 'patently bad' until a tragedy has occurred."


ATV-trespassers will increasingly target (and damage) relatively undefended private lands in order to selfishly avoid the costs and fees associated with leasing and renting land to lawfully ride upon.   ATV-trespassers generally seek the "Path of Least Resistance-By-Landowners" (see, e.g., ATV Riders Hack Way Through Yards: "Last month, while walking at the rear of his property, Heikel discovered that people had blazed a [ATV] path through his and his neighbors' wooded tracts." they decide they can get away with running over, beating up, or killing the landowner who tries to resist them:   

"In Morgan County [West Virginia] last year [2002], a man was viciously assaulted on his property by four ATV-riding trespassers he had told to stay off his land.  Instead of leaving as they were obligated to do by law, these trespassing thugs drove an ATV onto the man’s leg, pinned him down and beat him nearly to death. Then they rode away, leaving him to die. Fortunately, he survived to identify the attackers." (February 23, 2003) & Waters/2003022234

It is Written: "THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE ... NOR ANYTHING THAT IS YOUR NEIGHBOR'S" Exodus 20:17 (Deuteronomy 5:21, Romans 7:7, 13:9)

"COVETING = is when DESIRE becomes INORDINATE or UNLAWFUL.   THIS LEVEL OF DESIRE PLANTS THE SEEDS OF WILLINGNESS TO: HURT, STEAL, KILL.  Coveting is desire run rampant w/o control.  It will injure, hurt, even destroy to get what it wants [but is not lawfully entitled to]!"

"Although many riders use ATVs on their own property, many others don't, and that's the problem.  They think the neighbor's private property is their own personal turf to cruise over, ignoring fences and "No Trespassing" signs.  Farmers, woodsmen, home owners have become helplessly enraged over the ATV damages they have undergone. Last year, a property owner in western Morgan County was badly beaten when he tried to stop a group of young "macho?" ATV riders who were driving across his property." ( The Craze- and Curse- of ATVs)

There are "growing legions of fans of ATVs and dirt bikes, known collectively as off-road vehicles.  An estimated 45,000 ORVs are sold in New Jersey each year.  But as the number of ORVs has grown, so has the number of conflicts with land owners, who complain about the noise and damage to dirt roads caused by ATVs and dirt bikes that trespass on their land.   ...  ATV and dirt-bike riding is illegal on private property without the owner's permission.  ...   Little Egg Harbor resident Bill Hartley lives in woods along a private dirt road that he says ORV enthusiasts use constantly.  The vehicles chew up the road, creating deep ruts and making it difficult for him to drive on his own road.  "Look, everyone has to do a hobby.  It's fun, it's great," he said. "It's when they don't respect another person's property, that's when I have a problem."  ...   "I guess there was this general belief (among ORV riders) that if there is vacant land, they could just use it," Tavarez said. "As more and more houses were built, they found the land did belong to somebody. But that didn't stop them from riding on the land.  ...   "There's still that small percentage of riders that create most of the problem, and there is nothing you can do to stop that except enforce the law."

"We're looking at pretty consistently, year-in and year-out, 10 percent increases in the number of machines."  At this rate of population growth (10% per annum), the ATV-population will double every 8 years or so.

"[Maine] has suddenly become a magnet for ATVers from all over New England.  The popularity of ATVs, though, has not come to Maine without a cost. Landowners across the state, outraged over the destruction caused by the machines, have posted thousands of acres of land, closed long-established snowmobile and hiking trails, and even set traps to catch trespassing ATVs.  Safety experts gasp at the rapid increase in injuries and deaths among ATV users.  Farmers fear ATVs could become the next vehicle for spreading plant diseases from one field to the next.  And legislators are responding with a raft of bills aimed at tightening rules, increasing fees, and toughening enforcement.  ...  Widespread ATV resentment could even trigger a resurgence of efforts to require a [statutory] presumption that all private land is closed [for ALL recreational uses] unless posted as open to the public....  "It's a very explosive issue," says Roberta Scruggs, a veteran outdoors writer who recently authored a landmark report on the deteriorating relations between landowners and ATV owners....  People are angry to a point that I've never seen before," Scruggs adds.  'The Number One landowner problem is ATVs.' "    The ATV Menace

As the ATV-riding population increases, while new land is not being created on this continent, Landowners who own highly coveted terrain will be increasingly targeted by ATV-trespassers ranging from peaceful sneak-thieves to violent fully-masked land-robbers, and even vindictive arsonists riding in on four wheels.  The only solution is to diligently ENFORCE the LAW in order to maintain RESPECT for PRIVATE PROPERTY, and vice versa.  "For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced."  Albert Einstein.

The commandment forbidding coveting thy neighbor's land, and the commandment that "Thou Shalt Not Steal"  are at "the foundation of the moral code and legal system of justice for Western Christian civilization."  To openly REBEL against these commandments by disrespecting your neighbors rights to his private property is to Declare War Against YOUR NEIGHBOR And War Against GOD (See Part 2 at )

The Moral Code and Legal System (in New York State) "makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who [uses] force ... to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my [property], would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else.  And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it." John Locke, Second Treatise on Government, Ch. III, sec. 18 ( ); Accord, Rights of New York Landowners to Use Force

"ATV riders have 'started a war.' "I mean, cutting the trail through my property, that was enough," he said. "But then I come back and I'm telling these people, 'Look, I don't want you riding through here,' but they're going to do just what they darn well please." ... "I caught a few people out there and I lit into them," he said. "One guy told me I was some sort of nut. Well, I don't care what you think, you're on my property and you have no right to be here." " 

People submit to the state to remain free and to have their property protected. “Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws […] for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community in the execution of such laws and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good” (John Locke 4)

"Law is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.  ...  Each of us has a natural right--from God--to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?  If every person has the right to defend -- even by force -- his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right.  And the common force (i.e., Government and Law) that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. "  The Law, by Frederic Bastiat (French  economist, statesman and Anti-Socialist, 1850)

John Locke believed that man created Government and Law to help him secure his property.  "Man wanted, first, an established and promulgated Law. He wanted a judge to make determinations according to this Law. And he wanted an executive to carry out these determinations.  He hoped to gain these three advantages by entering into the social contract. But he did not give up all his rights in making this agreement: 'Though men when they enter into society give up [the absolute] executive power they had in the state of nature into the hands of society, to be so far disposed of by the legislative as the good of society shall require, yet it being only with an intention in everyone the better to preserve for himself, his liberty and property; (for no rational creature can be supposed to change his condition with an intention to be worse) the power of the society or legislative can never be supposed to extend farther than the common good; but is obliged to secure everyone's property.... ' "

John Adams stated: "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If 'Thou shalt not covet' and 'Thou shalt not steal' were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free." (A Defense of the American Constitutions, 1787)

    In the backward places, (like Rensselaer County, New York where the former DA who resigned was reputedly an ATV-rider ), the very government officials who are sworn to respect, uphold, and enforce the Laws securing private property (e.g., land) may instead combine with and abet the trespassers, creating situations "like something out of 'Deliverance'" where landowners "can't get any justice" and are instead treated like "criminals instead of victims" for simply lawfully defending their property where the police have failed to protect it.

     The appropriate legal remedies for landowners in such extreme situations may include: 1) the Forcible Defense of Premises (See: The Rights of NY Landowners to Use Force, at including the use of "defensive erections" such as "Severe Tire Damage" tire-spikes and/or 2) the invocation of the Federal Ku Klux Klan Act (42 USC sections 1983, 1985 and 1986) against the deviant public officials (See Part 1 and Postscript at and/or 3) quasi-political campaigns to force the resignation, re-education, or un-election of the deviant public officials (see  and )


Individual ATV-riders will sometimes exploit the notoriety of local ATV-gangs, and the ineffeciveness of the local Police, by playing the game of "Good-ATV/Bad-ATV", for example, by warning a landowner that if he does not allow the "Good"-ATVs to use (continue using) and "patroling" his land, the Bad-ATVs will come (back).  This is a subtle form of extortion, which has also been exploited on a larger scale by major state ATV associations to induce the voting public to cede public lands and other concessions to the local ATV-Lobby that credibly warns the public of continuing/increasing criminal conduct (e.g., trespass, vandalism, vindictiveness, resistance to arrest) on the part of ATV-riders if their political demands are not complied with.



ATV-riders counsel each other: "Remember the Bigger our NUMBERS the louder our VOICE"


If the NUMBERS of ATV-riders who do NOT RESPECT that private LAND (Terrain) is their neighbors' private "PROPERTY," then The ATV-Trespass Problem has the potential to escalate into a Civil War on the scale of the historical conflict between Farmers and Free-Range Cattlemen in the Old West, except that because private land rights have been settled and fixed by Law, the conflict would be properly characterized as an American Socialist Revolution.


The basic premise of the New York ATV-lobby, and of their politicians in office, that ATV-crimes should not be resisted and dealt with in the same manner as crime in general, but should instead be REWARDED by public funding, and by concessions from private land-owners, is offensive to many landowners, taxpayers and to many observers.  As Albany, NY, Political Columnist Fred LeBrun stated about the New York ATV-lobby : "We will not give in to Terrorists." "Too often in the past, local law enforcement hasn't taken the violations of property rights committed by ATVs and snowmobiles seriously enough. That's got to change, and fast. No way should we be blackmailed into providing an ATV trail system for a crowd that wants to beat us up to do it." Albany Times Union, January 12, 2003"


Land-owners should form and join associations, and political coalitions, local and national, and coordinate with existing associations to form a "common defense" against ATV-terrorists and the Socialist (Thieving ) Land-Reforms they will demand.   Useful Links and Contacts may include: 

Property Rights Foundation of America  

National Association of Reversionary Property Owners >>>>>


Lisa Philipps, grassroots coordinator, Natural Trails and Waters Coalition, wrote: "I work for a group called the Natural Trails and Waters Coalition(NTWC). As a part of my job, I work directly with folks that have private properties that are being trespassed by ATVs and dirtbikes. I have spoken with people from all across the country that have been terrorized by these vehicles.  In fact, this last week [March 2003] several of these individuals accompanied NTWC staff to Washington DC to meet with influential members on the Hill to address this problem. I would be very interested to hear any follow up stories or information from your readers/members on this issue. "

NTWC note concerning ATVs:


Even if a landowner chooses to passively surrender his valuable property to the first invaders to arrive on ATVs (instead of defending his lawful possession and the value thereof), more ATVs than he can tollerate will likely follow, and the landowner may still later find himself threatened, vandalized, or even sued by such trespassers even when the intruders themselves have created and assumed the risk of injuring themselves on the premises by defying "No Trespassing" signs and other warnings.

"The problem is ATV abuse of landowner's rights....  [T]he growing misuse of ATVs ... is the outdoor recreation issue of the decade."


"The problem isn't the guy who rides an ATV around his yard and uses it to haul a few trees or work around the farm, it's the yahoo mentality out there that you can rip and roar with these things and the more you tear up someone's property the more fun it is.  ... [T]he problem is enforcement."


New York's RULES FOR OPERATION OF ATVs are prescribed in the Vehicle and Traffic Law, including section 2403, which prescribes that "No person shall operate an ATV on the private
property of another without the consent of the owner or lessee thereof."

The NY Rules (above) and brochures distributed by the NY DOT state:
"To operate an ATV on private land, you must have permission of the land owner or lessee. If you receive permission, make sure you know the boundaries of the property, and respect any special restrictions or requests of the land owner."

The laws of New York state, though sufficient on their face, have failed to curtail ATV trespass, and ATV-riding trespassers are increasing in numbers, and increasing in defiance and belligerence against land-owners.  Stopping ATV trespassers on private land is generally not a priority of the police.  The People of the state of NY simply could not afford to pay for the amount of Police time that would be necessary to control the ATV trespass problem.  Not even to protect the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly has the police presence in the Pine Bush been increased.  Albany's Common Council President, Helen Desfosses, explained: "In addition to Albanys important efforts to get more police onto the streets, .... citizen involvement is crucial to crime prevention."  (

It is obvious to many that if the ATV problem is to be effectively controlled, citizen-enforcement of the law must be undertaken by those nearest to the problem (on private property) who recognize their civic duty, and who are informed of the privileges and risks of citizen's arrest. The risks of personal confrontations with defiant trespassing offenders are grave.  The risks to pedestrian landowners attempting to stop masked ATV-offenders is is even greater.  Many Police Officers and landowners have been run-over by ATVs while trying to stop or apprehend ATV offenders.  Even the youngest ATV riders are fully aware that ATVs can be used as Weapons:

"Teen Arrested For Running Over Deputy:  A 16-year-old accused of running over a Davidson County deputy with an all-terrain vehicle was arrested. Investigators said that Deputy Chris Stillwell was attempting to stop the teenager when he was struck by the vehicle. The teen was reportedly the driver of the ATV. There is no word on the condition of the deputy. The teen is in the Davidson County Jail under a $75,000 bond."
Yahoo News, October 11, 2001 (No longer posted on web)




"A 15-year-old juvenile will be tried as an adult for charges that stemmed from an incident in which he struck Lieutenant Ron Henry, a game warden ... with an ATV."   Charges Made in Case of Game Warden Struck and Injured by ATV (6/27/03) 


"On July 29, police officer Chad Marks was struck by an ATV while on patrol.  [T]here has been damage caused by ATV's to village property, including trees with shallow root systems and creeks and waterways that the ATV's run through."

"Man on ATV shot after running over officer" (in Florida) (AP 7/06/2000)

(Landowner run over by 4-wheeler)

(A 19-year-old man led security on an ATV chase ...on private property.)

(Blown engine ends ATV chase)


"A lengthy pursuit was necessary before the subject finally stopped. He only did so because his ATV became hung up while crossing a log. The rifle, which started out in a sling, was in the ATV operator's lap at the time of the stop."


The fact that ATV-trespassers often wear masks (on helmets) concealing their faces can embolden many of them to behave as very brazen criminals when confronted by landowners.

Audubon Magazine reported:
"The 500 combat missions flown by Colonel George Buchner over Vietnam didn't prepare him ....  Buchner found trespassing ATV operators popping wheelies in his private trout stream. When he demanded their names, one rider dismounted and attacked him, breaking his nose. When he fenced his posted stream and property, ORV operators cut the wire and pulled the stakes. When he reinforced the stakes with cement, they knocked them down. [H]e received death threats, his streetlights were shot out, his mailbox smashed, his driveway seeded with broken glass, the eight-strand fence on his Christmas tree farm cut in 88 places, and his wife run over. "Robin was screaming," he said, "and the guy calmly cranked up his machine and finished running over her.  He had come through multiple barriers, multiple posted signs, three fences, and a gate. She had a hematoma extending the length of her leg." In July 1996 Buchner confronted two trespassing ATV operators, one of whom knocked him down. "Basically, [ATV]s ran me out of Michigan," Buchner told me from his Arizona home."


On Dec. 26, 2002, the Albany, NY Times Union, in at article titled, "Putting the brakes on ATVs" reported:

"ATV operators are riding rampant through privately-owned fields and yards [and forestland in Rensselaer County, New York]. "More and more residents are upset because of disruptions or damage to their property," Swartz said. "It's clear something needs to be done to protect property owners."  Some reports have indicated that more than 50 riders at a time, in some instances, have come from out of town to take advantage of the wide, open spaces, he said. Few, if any, have permission to traverse the routes that they do.  The frustration is shared by residents and police as the number of ATVs has increased in recent years, he said. ...   And while most vehicles are registered, the inherent problem occurs when they are ridden on private property, Merola added: "You're not going to catch them unless you're chasing them on an ATV yourself."  Incoming legislator Keith Hammond said ATV riders ... "These people ride your property like they own it."  ... "ATVs are great for recreational purposes when properly and safely used," he said. "And the vast majority of riders are respectful and courteous. However, there is a small minority of riders that have little respect for other people's property."


The full-face masks (e.g., helmets and visors) which ATV-riders wear, and which they often refuse to remove when confronted by landowners, tend to embolden them to disrespect landowner's rights, and even to threaten and harm landowners and to commit crimes against landowners in retaliation.  As the Georgia Supreme Court observed:

"We know that '[p]ublic disguise is a particularly effective means of committing crimes of violence and intimidation.  From the beginning of time the mask or hood has been the criminal's dress. It conceals evidence, hinders apprehension and calms the criminal's inward cowardly fear.' M. Abram & A. Miller, "How to Stop Violence! Intimidation! In Your Community" (August 15, 1949). A nameless, faceless figure strikes terror in the human heart.  But, remove the mask, and the nightmarish form is reduced to its true dimensions. The face betrays not only identity, but also human frailty.

State v. Miller, 398 S.E.2d 547, 550 (Ga. 1990).\spring96\23050.htm

New York state statutes provide ample power to landowners to exclude, stop, and remove ATV trespassers, and to volunteers to defend public and private property from damage, and to make arrests:
"6.   A person may, pursuant to the ensuing provisions of this article, use physical force upon another person in defense of himself or a third person, or in defense of premises, or in order to prevent larceny of or criminal mischief to property, or in order to effect an arrest or prevent an escape from custody.  Whenever a person is authorized by any such provision to use deadly physical force in any given circumstance, nothing contained in any other such provision may be deemed to negate or qualify such authorization."  NY Penal Law s 35.10(6)

On January 3, 2003, Albany Times Union political columnist Fred LaBrun stated that in Rensselaer County, New York, "these instruments from hell" are running amok and "cops make an all-too-infrequent stop of some yahoo churning up the landscape on somebody else's private property.   ...   There have been a number of testy confrontations recently in the rural parts of the county between ATV riders operating illegally and property owners.  Something very bad is going to happen if this persists.  Private property is, after all, private property. Owners get edgy about that."

"It's the yahoos among them that make life difficult for all of us. Those people should lose their right to continue terrorizing us.  ...  Riders need to show they've got the maturity to deserve something other than the yahoo label. Or they need to turn in the keys to their toys."   

It would be ideal to have an Olde-Fashioned Forfeit-to-Landowner (or, Forfeit-to-Capturer) statute on the books in each state.   This would deter ATV-trespass and encourage law-enforcement. 



Fortunately, NY Common Law provides alternatives to personal confrontations.  The highest Court of New York has declared that landowners have a common law privilege (a "property right") to "destroy" the "instrument of trespass" (e.g., vehicle) used by "defiant trespassers." People v. Kane, 142 N.Y. 366, 37 N.E. 104 and 131 N.Y. 111 ("The ownership and possession of property confer a certain right to defend that possession, [including] a defense of it which results in an assault and battery, and that which results in the destruction of the means used to invade and interfere with that possession.")  In Reed v. Esplanade Gardens. Inc., 91 Misc.2d 991, 993 (1977), the court noted the general principle that when dealing with the chattel (e.g., vehicle tires) of a trespasser on the true owner's land the law is that "[I]n such circumstances THE LANDOWNER IS PRIVILEGED TO deal with the personal [property of another] in a manner which would otherwise be a trespass [to chattels, including DETENTION or DAMAGE] or a conversion [e.g., the complete destruction, distress, or disposal] IF THE ACT IS reasonably NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE ACTOR'S INTEREST [e.g., necessary to "prevent or terminate" a trespass upon his premises].  However, "the actor may be liable if he uses unreasonable [i.e., un-necessary] force which causes harm to the chattel [unnecessarily]." Reed.  Accordingly, a NY land-owner is privileged to damage an ATV as "necessary" to terminate a trespass, or to effect an arrest. 

Further, once an ATV is discovered, and is captured trespassing on private property in defiance of conspicuous "No Trespassing" signs, the New York land-owner may be privileged to impound and detain the vehicle until his damages are paid, pursuant to the common-law remedy of "trespass damage feasant" (also known as "distress damage feasant").  ; Sindle v. NYCTA, 33 N.Y.2d 293, 307 N.E.2d 245 (1973).   The New York landowner may also condition the release of the ATV upon payment of an additional fixed "Reasonable Redemption Fee" (e.g., $100, plus per diem) to compensate the landowner for the trouble or expense of impounding, safeguarding, storing and/or releasing, the vehicle, if Notice of the fixed Redemption Fee has been Conspicuously Posted along the roadway (e.g. driveway or other ATV "trail").  Fieldston Prop. Owners Assn. v. City of New York, 16 NY2d 267, 269; Forest Hills Corp v. Kowler, 80 AD2d 630; Forrest Hills Corp. v. Baroth, 147 Misc. 2d 404.

Accordingly, NY Penal Law Sec. 35.05 provides: "Unless otherwise limited by the ensuing provisions of this article defining justifiable use of physical force, conduct which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal when:1.   Such conduct is ... authorized by law...."

NY statutes specifically authorize the use of non-deadly "force ... in defense of premises" (i.e., land). It is lawful for landowners in NY (and other common law states) to defend their land from trespass-by-vehicles by deploying roadspikes, nails-in-boards, caltrops, etc. as is customarily done at private parking lots in New York and many other states.  Road spikes, caltrops, spiked fences, etc. deployed at a perimeter are generally considered to be "non-lethal" force:  

(After "Yet another death", farmers/landowners deploy nails-in-boards to fight ATV trespass) 

As noted, peaceful landowners in the US are stopping trespassing ATVs in the basically the same way that Police, parking lot owners, and drive-in movie theaters stop other types of vehicles, by lawfully placing NAILS (road spikes) in their paths.  In this manner, the risks inherent in personal confrontations (between landowners and violent ATV-trespassers) can be reduced. 

Farmers seemingly have perfected the technique:
"I would start by posting the property 'Danger!!-- Private Property -- Keep Out!!' (big red letters are nice...) for a week or two, and then I would proceed to sink some nice holes in the ground on either side of the roads & drive. Fill 'em with concrete and set a hasp into it. Get a nice big board, like a 2x12 cut to span between the two hasps. Drive some nice ten-pennies into them thickly, and then put screw eyes at either end. Chain the boards to the hasps with padlocks. After they've lost a few tires, they may rethink their route. You can easily unlock one end and drag it at a right angle out of the way when you want to get thru for field work, then lock it back up at night.  -- Julie Froelich, December 06, 2000."

Commercially manufactured Road Spikes like Antech Co's Guardian ( CB.html) or DeltaScientific's SabreTooth and Doorking's Model 1610 traffic spikes (which can do much more tire damage than simple round nails) are currently employed at gates of the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge campgounds and at the Great Swamp Watershed in NJ (, and at numerous parking lots, airports, and drive-in theaters and numerous other private properties around the country.
See:  DeltaScientific's SabreTooth ("The Sabre Tooth will puncture all pneumatic tires including steel belted radial and large truck tires.")

"Provides extremely effective one-direction unmanned traffic control by puncturing the tires of errant vehicles." ( CB.html)
Doorking's Model 1610 traffic spikes:
PMG's "roadspike" product is marketed for "perimeter control" for security purposes:

"The Traffic Controller ... can be used as a free entrance or exit in your parking facility ... and includes 20 steel cut blade teeth."

Comercially manufactured caltrops (called "PORTABLE ROADBLOCKS") are recommended for "use with extreme caution and discretion" to "protect private property."

"The 4-wheelers are trespassing and causing damage and death to pets. Here in NC the police are slow to respond (often 2 hours later) they say its a low priority issue. I asked about the boards with nails. On your "privately" owned and "posted" land you can lay boards down and if they have nails in them well it is on your land. (officially).  Unofficially if the trespassers get hurt most will sue. And with our "liberal" courts the landowner is about 75% sure to loose. Wish the odds were better."

Spiked fences are common in NY cities:  "Mechanical devices and animals may be used for the protection of property....  Barbed wire, fence spikes, and broken glass are reasonable since they serve to exclude....  Spring guns and traps on the other hand are dangerous weapons.... Vicious dogs, with protensities to kill or seriously injure, are generally treated like mechanical devices except that a posted warning in such cases has [in New York state] served as a defense."  Rights Incident to Possession of Land, sec. 28.18 Forcible Resistance Against Intruders (KF575 M367).

Pursant to New York's Recreational Use Statute, an owner of premises, even if not "posted", "owes NO DUTY to keep the premises SAFE for entry or use by others" pursuing listed activies.  The statute also states that an owner has "NO DUTY to give warning of any hazardous condition or use of or structure or activity on such premises." GOL s 9-103

"Under a Recreational Use Statute, recreational users are treated in the same manner as trespassers and thus the landowner owes them no duty of care."

"Landowners are not bound to issue warnings, inspect their property or repair dangerous conditions for trespassers. However, landowners do not have the right to intentionally injure trespassers, except to protect themselves or their property."

A California court construing language in a landowner immunity statute similar to language in NY GOL s 9-103, concluded that a justified use of physical force against a trespasser was a lawful intentional "use of" land and therefore not a "willful" act depriving the landowner of statutory immunity.  Similarly, the NY High Court declared that the placement of a cable stretched across a road to stop trespassing vehicles is a lawful condition or use of land, even if the landowner's effort to give notice of the hazard later proved insufficient to prevent a decapitation injury.  But a wilful or malicious failure to give notice of the hazardous condition or use of property could give rise to liability.  Sega v State, 60 NY2d 183. 

"A Youngsville [NC] father believes his son's death was the result of another man's attempt to keep four-wheel drivers off his property.  Joshua Woodruff, 22, 203 William Pearce Way, died Sunday at WakeMed in Raleigh from internal injuries he suffered after driving a four-wheeler into a steel cable.  ...  Woodruff's father, James Woodruff, said that when his son and a few other of his friends driving four-wheelers entered the path, there was no cable on the road. "When they were on their way back home, the cable was up and 'Josh' didn't see it."  Lt. Nelson Ross of the sheriff's department said Woodruff must have been going pretty fast, but he could not give an exact speed he was traveling. The cable was about two-and-one-half feet off the ground. ...  Woodruff was not supposed to be driving a four-wheeler on the property, according to Ross.  ...  Arnold had put up no-trespassing signs at two entrances on the property. Arnold told deputies that he put a steel cable along the road to stop trucks from coming in and dumping trash on his land.  Ross said Arnold has a long history of problems with people dumping trash and riding all terrain vehicles on his land without his permission.  He put up signs, fences, and a eventually the cable to prevent their activity, but was still unsuccessful.  Ross said Arnold has reported several trespassing incidents to the sheriff's department in the past three years. "They even tore one of his fences down," Ross said.  Roy Frazier, owner of Frazier's Store at the N.C. 96 and 98 intersection, said many of his farming friends have complained about people riding four-wheelers across their property and dumping trash. "That's what is happening all around here," he said.  Frazier said there are cables up everywhere, leaving few places for children to ride their three- and four-wheelers. North Carolina law prohibits driving vehicles on private property without permission from the property owner.  Ross said Arnold did not do anything illegal by placing the steel cable in the road to protect his property. Ross also said no one will probably be charged in the case. "It appears to be just an unfortunate accident," he said.  ...  James Woodruff said he hopes the incident will protect someone else's child in the future. "But my son is gone." "  (March 21, 2002)

In some states an unpainted (e.g., gray) cable could be regarded as a "trap" imposing civil and criminal liability upon a landowner unless augmented by bright ribbons etc.  "A trap is a hazard that is known to the landowner or person in charge, but concealed to others.  If a trespasser is injured by a trap, the landowner is open to liability for the injury, even though the trespasser violated he law by trespassing.  The following have been held unlawful traps for which the landowner can be held responsible: (1) setting a spring gun, (2) creating obstacles on a public roadway, (3) installing a cable gate across a private road known to be used by he public. To reduce he liability risks for #3, the road should be posted as private access. If a cable or chain is used to close a road, it should be flagged with brightly colored flags or other materials." and

The NY High Court has also held that: "where landowners fence or post "No Trespassing" signs on their private property or, by some other means, indicate unmistakably that entry is not permitted, the expectation that their privacy rights will be respected and that they will be free from unwanted intrusions is reasonable."

Responsible landowners will post conspicuous "NO TRESPASSING" or "POSTED" signs, and/or signs specifically warning trespassers of hazards, risks of property damage, and/or that physical force (i.e., the infliction of some physical injury and pain) may be used to exclude, expel or to arrest them.  In Palumbo v. State, 487 So.2d (Fla.App. 1986), the plaintiff was injured when he entered a lake containing alligators. He alleged that he did not see the alligators and did not read the posted warning signs.  In the opinion of the court, it was irrelevant whether plaintiff had actually read the signs. As long as he was given a reasonable opportunity under the circumstances to read the warning message, he would be charged with the knowledge that "would be obvious to him upon the ordinary use of his senses."

The National Forest Service has been constructing "tank traps" to exclude trespassing motorized vehicles (e.g., ATVs) from the lands at Targhee. "[E]arth berms..., backed by pits."  "The traps were [installed] to restrict [vehicular] access to public lands in the national forests."  "The dangers posed by the traps were made clear [when a man] testified ... he was at the front of a small group of snowmobiles when his vehicle was violently thrust up into the air. He came to rest in a pit with a broken back."

The berms were installed after "gates" proved ineffective to prevent ATV "trespass."

"Private property owners are finding off-road vehicle damage to be an escalating problem financially, ecologically and emotionally.  On March 24, 2002 the Portland Press Herald documented the story of Harlan Brown whose experience parallels the problems other landowners are having with off-road vehicle trespass. Brown has been posting signs, and has gone as far as installing heat and motion sensors on his property to aid him in preventing further damage to his property from off-road vehicle abuse.  Corporate landowners like International Paper and Portland Natural Gas Transmission System are trying to mitigate ATV and other off-road vehicle damage and trespass on their corporate properties as well.  Some of steps these corporations have taken to mitigate damage including hiring security officials, installing large boulders and putting up barricades." (Off-Road Vehicle Trespass - a National Issue)

"Harlan Brown has installed heat- and motion-sensor cameras in the woods to catch ATV riders on his property so he can press criminal trespass charges. He'd already put up "No ATV" signs and blocked paths that ATV riders had cut through his woods. He even stretched a steel cable with ribbons between two sturdy oaks, but somebody cut down one of the trees."

Motion-Activated Film Cameras can now be purchased for under $100 dollars.  In New York, deploying "motion-activated cameras" to identify and prosecute unknown ATV-trespassers is generally a waste of time and money unless you can get pictures of the unmasked FACES of the ATV-offenders.  This is because ATV-offenders in New York generally do not display readable registration "plates" required by Law to be displayed and will swap helmets, clothing, and even ATVs with relatives or members of their ATV-gang from time to time for the specific purpose of avoiding being easily identified and prosecuted based upon the external appearance of their equipment.  New York State Police generally treat even close-up pictures of masked ATV-offenders and their ATVs as being "useless" for prosecution purposes.  But, ATV-offenders will sometimes remove their helmets and face-masks when they have to stop to destroy and remove substantial barricades or barriers placed to impede their trespass, such as many small trees, boulders, or brush placed across the trail.   Be careful to disable or cover the "flash" on such cameras, or the ATV-offenders will easily find them and steal or damage them.

Landowners who rely upon cables or chains to prevent vehicular trespass can "armor" their anchor trees by pounding dozens of steel common nails into each tree (later cutting the nail-heads off to prevent their extraction and to minimize bark damage as the tree grows) to deter chain-saw damage.  This will not kill the trees, but will prevent them from being cut-down.  Alternatively, the tree-owner can nail (with barn nails or lag bolts) several heavy steel 6-foot tall 2inch-wide pipe-hanger type straps vertically over the bark of the trees down to their roots.   This is a more visible deterrent to chain-saw attacks upon the trees, but as the tree grows, the vertical straps may cause scarring of the bark many years down the road (but this is still better than having strangers cut down the whole tree).

"Wayne Harper, of the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, says his company is spending $100,000 a year and more to repair ATV damage along its pipeline right-of-way in southern Maine. He has put up fences and signs. "They usually last less than two days," he says with a touch of bitterness. "Wooden gates are chainsawed. Metal gates are torched. We've hired private security firms. We brought in heavy equipment to build boulder barricades. Without exception ATVers have gone over, around, or through them." "

"The company repaired the damage, put up signs and hired a retired policeman to provide security. It imported dump truck loads of large boulders and built substantial barricades to protect Branch Brook.  In December 2000, the company added riprap and completely rebuilt the streambanks. Six months later, Harper said, "it looked like we never did anything." (Landowners take aim at irresponsible ATV riders )

The ATV Trespass problem is serious and pervasive throughout the US:

In March of 2003, Maine's Governor acknowledged "That ATV trespass and property damage are out of control and costing fishermen, hunters, snowmobile, and other outdoorsmen loss of access to private land"

(Lawsuit alleges neighbors cut an ATV trail)
Off-roader's Observation:
"I wish [ATV riders] would realize that they are the reason so many of the trails and private lands are being closed. [A] large majority of the ATV crowd has no respect for the land that they ride."

A responsible ATV-rider advises other ATV-riders that: "You're protecting yourself by turning in the bad guy. If you don't, then people think we're all bad guys.  [T]he few bad apples need to be educated, made to join clubs where they'll be taught how to ride responsibly."

"Riders like Roger Roy, of ATV Maine, are welcome on the trails they ride because the club has obtained permission. He said responsible ATV riders ride only on marked trails and keep an eye out for riders abusing the land.  Other solutions that came out at the meeting were to raise fines for violators, require riders to use bigger license plates and provide more money for enforcement. But the sentiment voiced over and over again was that ATV riders need to unite with other recreational riders, create clubs and prove to landowners that they can respect the [boundaries of land-owner designated] trails."

"Today, the largest constituency organized to open up parks and wilderness areas to roads and development is no longer Wise Use loggers and resource industry employees but suburban owners of motorized dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft.  While millions of Americans are having a love affair with fast, loud off-road vehicles, their owners are creating major user conflicts with tens of millions of other outdoor recreationists who enter wilderness areas believing they've left the noise and pollution of the freeway behind."

"And a [Arizona] State Land Department official is promising to close the property if ATV (all-terrain vehicle) and dirt bike owners don't act more responsibly.  ...   "The noise and dust are really bad," said Steve Bidwell, a resident of Carefree Shadows. "Kids are out there five evenings a week running over everything including the cactus. They just don't seem to care."  "In some places it's just heartbreaking." Off-roaders have gone off state trust land onto Scottsdale property and destroyed native tree seedlings that had been nurtured for two years for transplant into the preserve."  "It's not only illegal, but they're destroying the very thing they're supposed to be out there enjoying," Carla said. "We have asked the State Land Department to start closing these areas to motorized vehicles."  Off-road operators need a recreational permit to be on state trust land and are required to stay on established paths.  Geeck said only about one in 10 have the permit, and many mistakenly think cutting new trails is part of the off-road experience."  ...  The problem, Geeck said, is there are many more violators than law enforcement personnel available to catch them. "  ATVs stir dust, controversy, The Arizona Republic (July 22, 2003) (or try this link)

"This ( ) is a perfect example of the myth that legal places to ride will prevent illegal riding.  [M]any riders still choose to hack, trample and damage property they do not own, without permission, instead of going up the road to the legal place. They just don't want to pay their fair share for their own enjoyment! And if it is impossible or impractical to enforce the laws, than the sales of dirt bikes and quads [to landless people] should be banned in the state. " 

"If they were generally responsible, ATV riders would have wider access to trails .... There would be fewer barriers and "no-trespassing" signs. But that's a big "if" at this point."

ATV rider bragged to friends about setting farmer's barn on fire.

Strawberry crop is burned by retaliating ATV trespassers:
"'Over 99.9 percent of the snowmobile people are great. They generally police themselves. ATV users -that's a different story.' ...  'I've called several wardens in the past to report ATV-abuse problems and the response time was at least five hours.'"

(Snowmobilers say ATVs are tearing up and closing trails)

"A 120-member snowmobile club that is losing trail access [said]: "We'd like to see them form their own organization so they can get their own trail system and stay off our trails," Don Roux, trailmaster for Sno-Goers, said of ATV users.  "And," he said, "we'd like to see more enforcement."

"The Harrisons didn't want ATVs on their land, but agreed to allow snowmobiles.  'ATVs have a tendency to dig and I think they do more damage.'"

"Also the idiots with the ATVs who think 'hey the trails are closed to snowmobiles, but I can get through with my ATV though.' These people too are causing landowner conflicts. You could have 10,000 snowmobiles go across a farmer's field in the winter and you can't even tell in the summer, but all it takes is one ATV or a 4wd truck to damage the property in muddy conditions and the farmer gets pissed, refuses to allow use of his land for the trail and the club is scrambling for alternates." (ATVs  INVADING)
(ATV rodeo wrecked lawn. "They've got no respect for people's property now.") (Town overrun by ATVs)

(ATVs turning town into 'war zone')

(EFFECTS of ATV'S on hiking TRAILS)

(Nature pays the price as ATVs hit Minnesota's woods)

(ATV Trespass damage in VT municipal forest)

(Hunting Lands closed and spoiled because "a deer can figure out that an ATV means danger" and landowners reject ATV-use by hunters.)

Peterson's Hunting Mag, ( Mar./Apr. 2002. p18.

(trails ruined by disrespectful ATV riders)


Vandal on ATV smashes new citrus groves (January 28, 2003)



Citizen's Arrest in NY is authorized and regulated by NY Criminal Procedure Law Article 140 and the use of force and even deadly force for the purpose of effecting such an arrest and maintaining the safety of the citizen performing it, is authorized by Penal Law section 35.30(4) and 35.10(6). See statutes at:

New York Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) sec. 140.30 (1) provides:
"Subject to the provisions of subdivision two, any person may arrest another person ... for any offense when the latter has in fact committed such offense in his presence."

In NY, private citizens have the "same authority" to make arrests of factually "Guilty" offenders as do police officers. Police have a legal duty to make arrests. Private Citizens have a civic and moral duty to make arrests.  It is however extremely important to completely understand every limitation and all the regulations and duties applicable to arrests by private citizens as prescribed in Criminal Procedure Law Article 140.

It is very important that one undertaking a Citizen's Arrest also have a thorough knowledge of the Laws which define arrestable offenses, since private citizens may only arrest factually "guilty" offenders, and may not arrest merely upon reasonable belief nor probable cause.


A violation of these Rules is an "offense" for purposes of authorizing a private citizen to arrest an ATV operator without a warrant. See, VTL sec 155 & PL 10.00(2)
"For purposes of arrest without a warrant, pursuant to article one hundred forty of the criminal procedure law, a traffic infraction shall be deemed an offense."  VTL sec 155

" 'Offense' means conduct for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment or to a fine is provided by any law of this state or by any law, local law or ordinance of a political subdivision of this state....." PL 10.00 The term "offense" therefore means any felony, misdemeanor, violation, or traffic infraction, unless otherwise specified in the law defining the offense.  Penal Law sec 10.00 (1-6).

ATV riders who will ride on any "new trail" they hear about without even knowing the owner will usually resist arrest, and try to flee (or run over the landowner):


"Our educational system is failing.  Our schools are producing students who are - to quote from the conclusion of a 858 page report recently published by a distinguished blue ribbon Presidential Task Force on Educational Quality- "stupid."  The drop in our national IQ has caused many problems, including ... in the field of crime.   [W]e are producing incompetent criminals...."  Dave Barry, (as appropriately published in the Troy Record) July 15, 2001.


In extremely backwards places like Rensselaer County, New York, where public education (paid for at landowners' expense) systematically fails to instruct the young about peoples' rights, liabilties and responsiblilities under the Law, many ATV-riders will resist arrests attempted even by Police Officers:   "Unregistered ATV: 3:21 p.m., Brian Wescott, 17 [years old], 480 Second Street, [Troy, New York] allegedly became irate and uncooperative during a traffic [ATV-infraction] stop and struggled with police.  He was also charged with no insurance, obstruction of government administration, and resisting arrest."  Troy Record, Police Blotter May 8, 2001

What happens in NY when the ATV operator who is engaged in an arrestable offense (e.g., NY VTL s 2403(3)) or is fleeing from the scene resists a lawful citizen's arrest?

Penal Law, sec. 35.30, titled "Justification; use of physical force in making an arrest or in preventing an escape", provides:  

"4. A private person  acting  on his own account may use physical force, other than deadly physical force, upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes such to be necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of a person whom he reasonably believes to have committed an offense [in his presence] and who in fact has committed such offense; and [after giving due notice of the grounds for the arrest] he may use deadly physical force for such purpose when he reasonably believes such to be necessary to:(a) Defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force."

"The right of a law enforcement officer [or a private citizen] to make an arrest necessarily carries with it the right to use some degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to effect it." Frazell v. Flanigan, 102 F.3d 877 (1996), quoting Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989).

When arresting offenders riding ATVs, it is important to be aware that the ATV can be used as a dangerous instrument against the person making the arrest.

In NY, forcible "conduct" such as "Menacing" (PL 120.14), "which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal" when committed "in defense of himself or a third person, or in defense of premises, or in order to prevent larceny of or criminal mischief to property, or inorder to effect an arrest or prevent an escape from custody."  Penal Law 35.10(6).

Penal Law s 120.14, titled "Menacing" prescribes:
"A person is guilty of menacing in the second degree when [without justification]:1. He or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm."

However, many states, including NY, while not authorizing the USE of Deadly Force in defense of possession of land (i.e., premises), nevertheless do provide that an occupant may use necessary non-deadly force (including "threatening" to use deadly force, i.e., "menacing").  For example, Arizona's statutes explicitly authorize landowners to "threaten to use deadly physical force" in defense of land. Arizona Revised Statutes 13-407.


New Jersey statutes "permit[] an individual to display or brandish a firearm or other weapon when the need for self-protection [or protection of another] is reasonably perceived and he merely intends to create an apprehension in the aggressor that he will use deadly force if necessary." State v. Harmon, 203 N.J. Super. 216, 223 (App. Div. 1985), rev'd on other grounds, 104 N.J. 189 (1986).  [ "A threat to cause death or serious bodily harm, by the production of a weapon or otherwise, so long as the actor's purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute deadly force." ]

Similarly, New York statutes provide that a person "may USE any degree of physical force, other than deadly physical force, which he reasonably believes to be necessary for" the listed purposes e.g., defense of premises, persons, to arrest.

NY Penal Law sec 10, Definition (11) provides:  ""Deadly physical force" means physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury."

Menacing with an unloaded gun, or with a dangerous instrument, and even firing a warning shot AWAY FROM the trespasser, and safely "threatening to use" deadly force, etc. are not a "USE" of Deadly Physical Force. Therefore each such act would be lawful in NY when such a use of non-deadly force is necessary and lawful under article 35 of the NY Penal Law. See:
People v. Davis, 72 N.Y. 2d 32, 530 N.Y.S.2d (1988).
PEOPLE v. CHRYSLER, 85 N.Y.2d 413, 649 N.E.2d 1162, 626 N.Y.S.2d 18 (1995) ((

NY Case in point:
"A Canajoharie, New York, car thief's efforts were put in park after a potential victim pressed a shotgun to the criminal's throat. Daniel J. Stetin foiled the crime after awaking for work and discovering his car already running outside. He grabbed a shotgun and went to investigate, while his wife grabbed the telephone and dialed 911. Confronted by an armed and angry Stetin, the crook rested quietly on the ground and waited for police to arrive. (The Sunday Gazette, Schenectady, NY, 5/21/95)"

There was no apparent USE of "deadly physical force" here (unless the shotgun had a hair-trigger and/or the safety was OFF), only a lawful and apparently necessary and sufficient "threat" to use such deadly force.  Note: If the man who owned the car stood in front of it, and if the thief had attempted to escape by driving over the car's owner, the car's owner would have had the right to prevent that escape involving vehicular assault, by using deadly physical force (i.e., shooting). This is because the law, in support of citizens who place themselves in positions of peril to arrest guilty offenders, provides that the private citizen "may use deadly physical  force for such purpose [to effect an arrest or prevent an escape] when he reasonably believes such to be necessary to:(a) Defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force." There is no duty to retreat while performing a lawful citizen's arrest.  PL 35.10(6); 35.30(4).
(ATV posse traps man, rescues girl)

The case of the "ATV-Posse" that apprehended an criminal riding an ATV (at: illustrates that law-abiding ATV-riders are well-equipped to apprehend and arrest ATV-offenders who use ATVs to commit crime.  ATV-riders are beginning to realize that "It's up to [ATV] people to organize and go out there and either pick up after these guys or police them to some extent," he said. "It's go time."

For other interesting articles about purported citizen's arrests see:

("Making a Citizen's Arrest:  Norm Thomson owns a 124-acre plot in South Kitsap, Washington. Although it's private property, not everyone respects that. ...  He decided to do something.")

("One might want to observe the 'no trespassing' signs ...- that is, if one doesn't want to be hogtied and delivered to the sheriff's office in the back of a truck.")

Land-owners Defend Private Property in the Second Mexican-American War:

"Tensions along the Southwest border have escalated into something like guerrilla war between U.S. ranchers and Mexican citizens. Some ranchers have [been] making citizen's arrests of illegal aliens crossing their lands. ... "Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever asked them to stay within the law when making citizens' arrests. He said private citizens arresting trespassers on their property can use any means 'up to and including the threat of deadly force, but not the use of deadly force.' " Republican congressman Jim Kolbe of Tucson wrote an impassioned letter to President Clinton, describing his constituents as virtual prisoners in their own communities. "They cannot take a simple evening stroll," Kolbe told Clinton. "Some cannot go for a walk unarmed.  Many rural residents are afraid to leave their homes unattended for fear that they will be robbed.  As a result, a husband and wife cannot even go out for a simple dinner."

See also, The "Rights of NY Landowners to Use Force (Display Guns) to Stop, Expel and Arrest Defiant Trespassers" at:


______________ Related Correspondence  ___________________

To: Arizona Sheriff Larry Dever:

Illegals Trespass in AZ, like ATVs Trespass in NY

[Note the Reply of Arizona Sheriff Larry Dever (below)]

     As a NY Landowner who must repeatedly confront and arrest gangs of ATV-trespassers riding ATVs on POSTED private land in Rensselaer County, NY (See "The ATV-Trespass Problem" at ) I have complete empathy and understanding for the situation of the Arizona Landowners who must confront and arrest swarms of trespassing illegal immigrants.  Similar to the Arizona Landowners' experience combating the AZCLU's socialist views and contempt for their property rights, I have found the NYCLU to be utterly indifferent to invasions of the property rights of NY landowners.   The Trespass Problem in Arizona is similar to the ATV and Hunter trespass problem in certain parts of upstate NY, and both sets of landowners are dissatisfied with the protection provided by the local constables, and have realized the need to resort to self-defense of premises and citizens' arrest. 


The following article recently appeared in the Albany, NY paper (Times Union), discussing the problem of ATV-trespass in the Rensselaer County, NY, where my family owns 600 acres.

Putting the brakes on ATVs 

Troy-- Proposed Rensselaer County law would fine owners of all-terrain vehicles for improper use 

By MICHELE MORGAN BOLTON (, Staff writer  First published: Thursday, December 26, 2002 

"A fresh blanket of snow on miles-long stretches of open fields and power lines is all it takes to warm the hearts and rev the motors of the state's 250,000 all-terrain vehicle owners.  And while many of those operators are licensed and otherwise comply with the law -- and the good graces of private property owners -- a growing number don't, said lawmaker Ed Swartz.  The Schodack Republican is proposing legislation to implement a county fine for improper use of an ATV and for operating an unregistered vehicle.  Increasing registration fees could help fund enforcement efforts, he said.  Swartz said he has been researching the potential legislation for about four months after receiving a number of complaints from residents in his rural district who claim ATV operators are riding rampant through privately-owned fields and yards.  Many of those concerns have come from fellow Schodackians, he acknowledged.  "More and more residents are upset because of disruptions or damage to their property," Swartz said. "It's clear something needs to be done to protect property owners."  Some reports have indicated that more than 50 riders at a time, in some instances, have come from out of town to take advantage of the wide, open spaces, he said. Few, if any, have permission to traverse the routes that they do.  The frustration is shared by residents and police as the number of ATVs has increased in recent years, he said. Carefully regulating usage may be the only way to protect everyone's rights, he said.  New York state has more than 75 organized ATV clubs, but many users prefer to ride on their own.  Owners are required to register their equipment with the Division of Motor Vehicles, paying a $15 annual fee, Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola said.  And while most vehicles are registered, the inherent problem occurs when they are ridden on private property, Merola added: "You're not going to catch them unless you're chasing them on an ATV yourself."  Incoming legislator Keith Hammond said ATV riders from North Greenbush and East Greenbush regularly maneuver their machines through a huge gravel pit near his 100-acre Poestenkill farm and then indiscriminately cross property lines.  "I have some thought about this," he said, of Swartz' proposition, which he said he also backed a number of years ago. "These people ride your property like they own it."  Poestenkill has already implemented an ATV registration process that requires riders to not only buy licenses, but carry written permission at all times while on private property.  "If they don't have it they can't be there," said Hammond.  Swartz said he has asked the Legislature's lawyers to review his ideas. He also said he knows it first may require action from the state before the county can implement any independent policies.  "ATVs are great for recreational purposes when properly and safely used," he said. "And the vast majority of riders are respectful and courteous. However, there is a small minority of riders that have little respect for other people's property."

On January 1, 2002, the Albany Times Union noted again that Renssealer County Landowners "want action on ATV drivers using private property without obtaining permission. Elected officials are grasping for solutions after landowners with guns ran off trespassing all terrain vehicles twice in the last 18 months."  TU 01/01/2002

New York and Arizona Landowners have essentially the same legal rights under state laws to use force (e.g., guns) in defense of their premises.  See, e.g., "Rights of NY Landowners to Use Force (Display Guns) to Stop, Expel and Arrest Defiant Trespassers (or Terrorists)  at .

And, on January 3, 2003, Albany TU columnist Fred LeBrun stated that in Rensselaer County, "these instruments from hell" are running amok and "cops make an all-too-infrequent stop of some yahoo churning up the landscape on somebody else's private property.   ...   There have been a number of testy confrontations recently in the rural parts of the county between ATV riders operating illegally and property owners.  Something very bad is going to happen if this persists. Private property is, after all, private property. Owners get edgy about that."

The Albany TU already reported, in November of 2002, that: "A teenager [seated on a parked ATV] was shot in the ankle by a [landowner] deer hunter as they scuffled during an argument that was sparked by the boy allegedly trespassing on private land, police said."  [The ATV-rider had refused to leave the land, threatened and punched the 69-year old landowner who was holding a deer rifle, causing the older man to fall down and causing the rifle to accidentally discharge, striking the trespasser in the ankle.  The local police falsely arrested and charged the landowner for "recklessly endangering" the trespasser, as if the landowner was supposed to expect to be punched and knocked down while holding a rifle, and to protect the trespasser from that risk.]

The local District Attorney, who reputedly rides ATVs, has announced plans to practically abolish private property rights in the County in order to make private land completely "safe" for ATV-trespassers.  See 

Meanwhile, the same things are happening in Arizona:

Monday, December 23, 2002
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Run for the border

Private citizens perform service in rounding up illegal border crossers

A number of activist groups, including the Arizona Civil Liberties Union and the Border Action Network, are asking Arizona Gov.-elect Janet Napolitano to step in and stop private property owners along the Mexican border from engaging in "vigilantism."

At least three such property rights groups are now patrolling the Arizona-Mexico border, endeavoring to round up smugglers and other illegal alien invaders, whereupon they turn them over to local and federal police. The property owners targeted in this protest are not known to have committed any illegal violence.

This is apparently too much for Pamela K. Sutherland, legal director of the Arizona CLU, to bear.

"We are a government of law," Ms. Sutherland asserts. "The vigilantism and lawlessness they represent cannot be tolerated and we won't let their behavior go unchecked."

Jennifer Allen, co-director of the Tucson-based Border Action Network adds that the illegal aliens "have civil rights and human rights that take precedence over defending the country."

Let's stop and consider this assertion for a moment. Which is the more vital human right -- the one most deserving of defense? The right to work hard, save your earnings, and buy a piece of land, whereupon you then "own" that piece of real estate as your "private property" ... or the right to bypass proper legal procedures in order to enter someone else's country, then further to trespass on someone else's private property in the country you've entered illegally, camping there without his or her permission?

Here's a hint: The first principle -- private property rights -- was the one on which this nation was based, and which helped make it the most peaceful, free and wealth-generating society the world has ever known.

The solution is for the land owners to merely call the police or the INS, the activists say. But police and the INS admit that they're spread too thin, left to resemble small children trying to catch moths with teaspoons. And on the rare occasion when they do apprehend illegal border crossers, what is their recourse? To dump them back across the border and watch them try again tomorrow night, of course.

In fact, the property rights groups are performing a valuable public service -- and as long as they do not engage in any illegal activity while protecting their own lands, they should be encouraged to continue their patrols.

------ END OF ARTICLE -----

Similar to the Arizona Landowners' experience combating the AZCLU's socialist views and contempt for their property rights, I have found the NYCLU to be utterly indifferent to invasions of the property rights of NY landowners.   The (former) Rensselaer County District Attorney, who reputedly rides ATVs, seemed to be instigating offenses against land-owners in Rensselaer County by maintaining prosecution policies that protected only ATV-riders and other trespassers, at the expense of the land-owners who's tax dollars pay his salary.  The DA advertised on his website that he wants to make private property in Rensselaer County perfectly "safe" for ATV-trespassers, including whole "families" of law-breakers.

Note:  Adolf Hitler took the same approach to acquiring and concentrating his Political Power:

"WHAT we [National Socialists] need if we are to have a real People's State is a land reform.... And land [Grund und Boden], we must insist, cannot be private property. Further, there must be a reform in our law. Our present law regards only the rights of the individual. It does not regard the protection of the race, the protection of the community of the people. ... A law which is so far removed from the conception of the community of the people is in need of reform." - Adolf Hitler, MUNICH, SPEECH OF APRIL 27, 1923

Please choose to assist landowners to preserve their legal rights under the Law and in the Courts of Public Opinion.  There is no need to change the Law in New York or Arizona, only a need to promote respect for it, and to enforce it.  Some landowners are far ahead of the curve in this respect.

Mark R. Ferran BSEE scl JD mcl


----- Original Message -----

From: Dever, Larry


To: Mark Ferran

Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2003 10:00 AM

Subject: RE: Illegals Trespass in AZ, like ATVs Trespass in NY



I very much appreciate your perspective and comparisons regarding the trespass issue. You are absolutely correct and I can assure you my defense of privacy and property rights of the citizens of Cochise County is beyond reproach. Sadly, a recent portrayal by an uninformed, moronic and myopic individual suggests otherwise. He knows not of what he speaks. Good luck with your legal and lawful pursuit of assuring the freedoms we cherish retain their value.

Sheriff Larry A. Dever

_____________ Related Article compiled by Mark R. Ferran _________________________

Mexican InfilTraitor Challenges Civilian Defense of US Borders  (see article below)


The tactics of using contrived "Human Rights" arguments to facilitate the criminal invasion and the take-over of the United States are not new.  Back in 2000, Professor "Navarro and his Mexican allies from across the border [were] using so-called human rights as a smoke screen to cover the invasion of the United States by Mexico. This is not a rally for peace, it is a rally for a piece of the United States of America."


Professor Armando Navarro, the man responsible for the anti-American, Anti-Property Rights assembly described in the article below identifies himself as a Leader of "the Chicano movement ... of an Aztlan" [i.e., Retaking control over the seven states of the Southwestern United States].



Navarro is a "Mexican nationalist."  He is advocating the overthrow of the government of the United States of America and the "liberation" of "Aztlan".  


Navarro claims that "the Mexicans ... were victims of an imperialism by which Mexico lost all but of half of its territory...  [He predicts that] In 50 years, in 2050, the Latin population growth in the United States will reach 100 million, converting itself into 25% of the US population.  In states like California, Texas and Nuevoo Mexico, in following 20 or 30 years the Latinos will constitute the majority (50%) of the population.  ...  Think that the Latin vote has the potential of "tipping the balance" of US elections, specially the presidential elections.   ...   Imagine the possibility that Mexico recovers the lost territories, or that a new Republic Of Aztlan is established; Imagine that what happens is similar to the separatist movements in the province of Quebec happens an and in Puerto Rico."


"Since 1993, the National Voter Registration Act, alias the Motor-Voter Law, has been a primary vehicle for massive voter fraud in the United States.  Non-citizens are accounting for an increasing percentage of voters in federal elections.  I take offense that the Congress seems perfectly content to watch as illegal aliens are actually deciding the outcomes of close elections.  ....  This law forces our state motor vehicle departments to ask all applicants for driver's licenses if they would like to register to vote at the same time.  However, thanks to the Civil Rights agencies, motor vehicle department workers ae not allowed to ask if an applicant is a citizen because this would violate their "civil rights."  As a result, millions of illegal aliens and non-citizens are getting BOTH driver's licenses and voter registration cards!"


Apparently, "National Leader Dr. Armando Navarro" is an ambitious man who wants to be the First President of the "Republic Of Aztlan" to be established in the Southwestern US states.  Navarro has already demonstrated a willingness to lobby Congress for American Foreign Policies that put the interests of border-violators ahead of the security of the law-abiding American Population:  Navarro lobbied Congress against the War in Iraq because: "a war may enhance strict immigration policies that are already making life hard for the Latino community.  "I think there will be an increase in the border control,' said Emilio Amaya, executive director of the San Bernardino Community Service Center. "That affects our community,' he said, "because we are the ones that cross the border.'",1413,208%7E12588%7E904303,00.html


"There is no question that illegal immigration is quite harmful to America and it must end soon if we wish to preserve the special character of our unique "melting pot" that has kept all races, colors and national origins united.    ...   America's illegal immigration problem was just one more symptom of a political system that is slowly being taken over by men and women of low character who lack both the ability and the desire to solve America's problems.   [T]his is exactly what happened in Cuba. Politics became so dirty and so corrupt that honest men and women refused to participate in the political process or run for office. And in the vacuum, dangerous people like Fidel Castro were able to steal the country."


Apparently, Navarro, inspiring and identifying with the "Zapatista" Rebels, is not morally opposed to the use of Military (Guerilla) violence to accomplish his Mexican Nationalist ambitions:


"Violence Continues [in Mexico]:  Today descendents of the Maya, and other indigenous groups throughout the Americas are still fighting ...  The most famous of these groups is the "Zapatistas" in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, who have taken their name after one of the Mexican revolution's leaders, Emiliano Zapata. Zapata, in his time, fought against the federal government ...."




Navarro told Hispanic Americans:  "When you look at the demographic studies when you listened to Dr. Bautista yesterday, we are clearly going to be the majority in the Southwest in the next fifty - sixty years and especially here in California, by the year 2015 we're going to be more than fifty percent of the population.  Ladies and gentlemen, what this means is a transfer of power, it means control, it means whose going to influence. And it is the young people, the people who are now moving to develop an agenda for the twenty first century. They are really going to be in a position to really make the promise of what the Chicano movement was all about in terms of self-determination, in terms of empowerment, and even in the terms of the idea of an Atzlan!"


Professor Armando Navarro's Biography and email address:


The Reconquistas "consistently questions the validity of our existing border with Mexico," Sutherland wrote." It also makes it very clear that with the continuing influx of Latinos into the Southwest along with their high birthrate, these so-called 'natives' will realize their power to control Aztlan once again.  ...   Latinos are now realizing that the power to control Aztlan may once again be in their hands."


In the furtherance of the Reconquest of the American Southwest, Navarro's Humanitarian Front organization, the "National Alliance for Human Rights is calling on the University of California Board of Regents to name a Latino chancellor for UC Riverside when it replaces Raymond Orbach.    ...  The alliance wants a Latino named to the post because the state's Latino population is approaching 35 percent.  ...  It's a strategically critical moment in the decision-making process, said Navarro, because, in addition to the possible chancellor post, a position is slated to open March 1 on the Board of Regents when Chairman Sue Johnson's term expires."   This kind of take-over of American educational institutions would naturally give the Mexican Nationalists more control over the minds of many young people who will be taught "tolleration" of the violation of American Immigration Laws, and to submit to the correction of the supposed injustices of History.  This would simply extend the efforts of local Mexican Nationalists to establish "schools" for the indoctrination of Latino children to rebel against Anglo-American authority over them:


Affilliating with Navarro's Humanitarian Front organization, "In its early years,[] organized around immigrant rights and against police brutality.  CSO also conducted leadership training and worked to increase voter participation. ...  Its success in this period can be measured by the ability to incorporate new members and prepare new leaders to fight for the democratic rights of all poor, working [Latinos in America].   ...  CSO opposed Propositions 184, 187, 209 and 21."


"Most national borders all over the world have come about as the result of war.  Mexicans obviously have no thought of [immediately] invading the Southwest with troops, so their hope is reconquista by migration, both legal and illegal.  According to Mario Obledo, founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund, "California is going to be a Hispanic state and anyone who doesn't like it should leave." Vicente Fox presented Mexico's Congress with a five-year development plan to eliminate the U.S.-Mexican border.  He said he plans to serve "the 100 million Mexicans who now live in Mexico and the more than 18 million who live abroad," and to "strengthen our ability to protect and defend the rights of all Mexicans abroad."  ...  On ABC's Nightline on June 7, he boasted: "We are betting that the Mexican-American population in the United States ... will think Mexico first."  Fox's plan calls for building a larger consular presence in the United States, and this is already in operation.  In U.S. areas with large Hispanic (including illegal) populations, the Mexican consul donates to the local public schools the same textbooks that are used in every elementary school in Mexico, grades 1 through 6.  The books, written in Spanish and including all academic subjects, teach that America "stole" the southwest from Mexico and that Mexico is entitled to take it back. The Mexican government considers these textbooks a symbol of Mexican national pride, guarantees a set to every Mexican child, and makes it a crime for anyone to sell them.  The only reason we learned about this Mexican plan is that one school in Santa Ana, California, decided to sell the books at a book fair and the local Hispanics kicked up a fuss about it. The school apologized to the Hispanics for selling the books, but should have apologized to the students for accepting the books in the first place. The question we should ask our Mexican immigrant friends is, are you assimilating or invading? "


A Hispanic American living in California speaks up against "Mexican Subversion":

"Americans must realize when representatives of the Mexican Consul, La Raza, or MEChA demand “social benefits” or “rights” for illegal aliens in the U.S. that this is an attack on America’s sovereignty by enemy agents of Mexico. They claim to be fighting for all Hispanics or Latinos, but they are not. They represent only one ethnic group or nationality, Mexican or Chicano. Simply put, they are socialist Mexican nationalists, or representatives of the “National Socialist Party of Mexico”, Mexican Nazis, and they are the enemy of all Americans."


See also:





Message: 6
   Date: Sat, 24 May 2003
   From: Joe Liberty <>
Subject: Civilian Border Patrols Challenged

    PHOENIX - A delegation representing human rights groups from across the country plans to confront civilian border watchdog organizations today over what the civil rights advocates call the use of excessive force to stop illegal immigrants.
    The tactics employed by the watchdog groups are "illegal, unjust and violent," said Armando Navarro, who heads the National Alliance for Human Rights and the delegation that traveled to Arizona from California on Thursday.
    The civilian watchdog groups, which include American Border Patrol, Civil Homeland Defense and Ranch Rescue, began appearing in Arizona in recent years as the state has become the preferred crossing point for thousands of illegal immigrants.
    The current delegation includes representatives of groups from California, Texas, New Mexico, Illinois and Mexico.
    Border crossers began shifting to Arizona in large numbers as immigration officials cracked down on entry points in Texas and California. Some of the civilian groups have rounded up illegal immigrants while others report border crossers to U.S. authorities.
    Chris Simcox, founder of Civil Homeland Defense, a volunteer group that patrols the border, said he had not heard from the delegation but would be glad to meet with them.
    Simcox called the characterization of his group as a violent militia "slanderous."
    Glenn Spencer, head of the Sierra Vista-based American Border Patrol, said his group isn't a militia. He also said he hadn't heard from the rights delegation.
    "I'm standing on a ramp in Fort Stockton, Texas, right now refueling my airplane to visit a rancher who has huge problems with illegal immigrants," Spencer said. "(The delegation has) never made any attempt to contact us, so we of course have no plans to meet with them."
    Navarro called it "convenient" that Spencer was out of town. He said the delegation will travel to Sierra Vista today to try to meet with other members of the patrol.
    "If he has any semblance of an organization, we're going to be looking for them," Navarro said. "They say, 'Join the hunt.' Well, the hunt is on them now. We are the hunters of the militias."
    Navarro, a political scientist from the University of California-Riverside, said he hopes to establish a larger network of human rights groups to work against the civilian patrols.
    Ruben Beltran, Mexican general consul in Phoenix, said he doesn't want vigilantes enforcing immigration laws.


"The groups began appearing in Arizona in response to complaints from residents who said they were being overrun by immigrants."

Compiled by Mark R. Ferran BSEE scl JD mcl

Rev. August 7, 2003