Constitution Law, Reasonable Suspicion V Probable Cause

1517 Words Mar 7th, 2014 7 Pages
Kristen Fortin
Kaplan University

CJ:140 Introduction to Constitutional Law
Professor Robert Winters
February 22, 2014

Abstract: Pertaining to the differences between probable cause and reasonable suspicion within law enforcement can determine the difference between a legal search and seizure and police officers obtaining evidence in an illegal manner. Officers need to handle each situation when probable cause and reasonable suspicion is involved. Determining what is reasonable and what is not takes great skill, perseverance, comprehension of the law, and an innate intuitiveness on the part of the officer. The Fourth Amendment clearly defines the exceptions to the warrant requirement.
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Thus, this leaves this determination up to the courts to decide case by case. Probable cause quantitates specific levels of suspicion and is based on facts and prudent belief of guilt, thus allowing a law enforcement officer to perform a warrantless search. Probable cause is more substantial than reasonable suspicion pertaining to the justification for an investigative detention. (Devallis Rutledge, 2010).

Reasonable Suspicion: Reasonable suspicion occurs when an equitable law enforcement officer possessing a belief or intuition of the possibility of a crime being committed, stops an alleged suspect, conducts a brief investigation and “pats” them down if it is believed the detainee possess a weapon. Reasonable suspicion became relevant in 1968, during the paramount case of Terry v. Ohio. An officer observed several people, Terry included, behaving in a suspicious manner in front of a store giving the officer reasonable suspicion to confront the suspects and conduct a brief pat down, whereas it was found that Terry had in his possession a firearm. This made the officer’s reasonable suspicion plausible, ruled by the Supreme Court, (Terry v. Ohio, 1968). Thus, this lead reasonable suspicion to probable cause to the arrest of Terry and his fellow accomplices. Reasonableness: The Fourth Amendment describes “the reasonableness clause” as “The right of the