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Any intentional detention of the person of another not authorized by law is false imprisonment. It is any illegal imprisonment, without any process whatever, or under color of process wholly illegal, without regard to the question whether any crime has been committed or a debt due.
The remedy is an order to be restored to liberty by writ of habeas corpus and to recover damages for the injury by action of trespass. To punish the wrong done to the public by the false imprisonment of an individual, the offender may be indicted.
Under California law, false imprisonment is the 'nonconsensual, intentional confinement of a person, without lawful privilege, for an appreciable length of time, however short.' Fermino v. Fedco, Inc., 872 P.2d 559, 567 (Cal.'94) (quoting Molko v. Holy Spirit Ass'n, 762 P.2d 46, 63 (Cal.'88)). A false imprisonment action may also be maintained if 'the defendant unlawfully detains the [plaintiff] for an unreasonable period of time' after an otherwise legal seizure or arrest. Lincoln v. Grazer, 329 P.2d 928, 30 (Cal.Ct.App.'58). Once the plaintiff has proven the elements of the tort, the defendant has the burden to establish that the detention or arrest was legally justified. See Cervantes v. J.C. Penney Co., 595 P.2d 975, 982 (Cal.'79).