Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/hostage situation


QUESTION: I believe I was held as a semi-prisoner in Spain but the issue is murky. I know you can't answer questions about Spanish law so just tell me if this qualifies as false imprisonment under American law.

Las month I accepted an invitation from a woman I know in Madrid, Spain to move in with her. I lived with her for only 17 days. The first three days were fine, after that her attitude changed tremendously. She treated me very badly by arguing with me and criticizing me constantly to the point where I no longer felt comfortable living with her. However, every time I tried to pack she pulled luggage out of my hands and physically blocked my way to the door. Also, she refused to allow me to walk around the neighborhood by myself because she said she was afraid I would get lost even though I'm a middle-aged adult. In addition, she insisted on knowing about all of my activity on the internet including private messages to friends and family. However, I never gave her that access.

She tried to scare me once by locking me out on the kitchen terrace in chilly whether while I was wearing nothing more than shorts and a sweater but this only lasted a minute or so. She also hit me lightly on the chest once with both fists while she was angry . It caused neither pain nor injury but it scared me a little. You should know I was NEVER abusive to her in any way.

Eventually I had to call the police to tell them she was holding me in her apartment against my will. When they arrived, I told them my story and they kept her away from me while I packed. I was finally able to leave that day but only because of the help of the police.

What makes the situation murky is that, by my count, I had four opportunities to leave because she left me alone while she worked. This happened twice in front of an office building and two more times in her apartment.

I think it's interesting to note the police didn't arrest her after I fully explained the situation to them.

ANSWER: Larry-

First and foremost, the situation you described is not a "hostage situation." Secondly, in Spain, a country known for its male dominance ("machismo") expected of their men, it would be highly unlikely the police would pursue criminal sanctions against a single woman who used no weapon nor physical force to keep you from leaving her apartment. As we see it, whether in Spain or the United States, the situation you described isn't "murky" at all.

By your own admission, you had multiple opportunities to leave and you didn't. In the final analysis, even if you wanted to pursue a criminal case, it would be a "he said/she said" scenario and, therefore, near impossible for you to prove in court.

The MPM Group, Inc.  

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Okay I see your point. However, to say she didn't use physical force isn't quite true. She tried to pull my cell phone out my hands as I tried to call the police (I had to hold the door closed in the bathroom as I called the cops while she was trying to push it open). As I stated before, she also pulled luggage out my hands as I tried to pack.

I could have easily overpowered her but of course that would have meant hurting her physically and I wasn't about to do that. This of course left me with no other option but to call the police.

So my follow up question is -- how would you have handled this?


You should be commended for not wanting to touch her physically, but she needed to know that you were leaving with or without her consent. A lot of it has to do with demeanor and how you project yourself to a woman like this.

By your own admission, you could have simply left.

The MPM Group, Inc.  

Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty

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Kevin M. Tamez


An adjudicated expert in most, if not all, federal/state criminal investigations. Also an adjudicated and CJA approved expert in federal post-conviction advocacy, sentencing mitigation and the federal prison system.


27-years in both state and federal law enforcement.

Bachelor of Arts Degree and Graduate Studies at George Washington University. Graduate of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy as well as both the Basic and Advanced Special Agent Courses at Quantico, VA.

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