A private citizen is someone who does not have an official or professional role in a given situation.
The same person may be a private citizen in one role, and an official in another. For example, a legislator is an official when voting in the legislature, but a private citizen when paying taxes or when undertaking a citizen's arrest in a public place.
A person may remain a private citizen even when having considerable political power and influence:
...Pericles, in his capacity as a private citizen, was able to dominate the affairs of the Athenian assembly, and to direct and guide the demos for nearly a generation.
In law [ edit ]
A government employee may be considered to be a private citizen in the context of law enforcement actions. For example, an emergency medical technician who discovered contraband on a patient was ruled not to be a "government agent" for the purposes of the constitutional restrictions on government searches.
See also [ edit ]
Notes [ edit ]
- Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2014, s.v., definition 5
- Graham Maddox, "Democratic theory and the face to face society", Politics 9:1:56-62 (1974) as quoted in Sparkes, A. W. (1988). "Idiots, ancient and modern". Australian Journal of Political Science. 23 (1): 101–102. doi:10.1080/00323268808402051.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Gerald N. Hill, Kathleen Hill, Nolo's Plain English Law Dictionary, 2009, ISBN 1413310370, s.v. "qui tam action", p. 350
- Ken Wallentine, Street Legal: A Guide to Pre-trial Criminal Procedure for Police, Prosecutors, and Defenders, 2007, ISBN 1590318226, p. 145
- Walter v. United States