Constitutionality of Stop and Frisk

1436 WordsOct 21, 20146 Pages
Abstract The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects one’s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. It also states that no warrants shall be issued without probable cause. Probable cause can be defined as a person of reasonable caution who believes that a crime has been committed and the person accused has committed that crime. Modern law has afforded police officers an incentive to respect this amendment, known as the “stop and frisk” act. The Stop and Frisk law allows police officers to stop someone and do a quick search of their outer clothing for weapons: if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that a crime has or is about to take place and the person stopped is armed or dangerous. The reasonable…show more content…
On October 31, 1963, a Cleveland police detective named Martin McFadden saw two men, John W. Terry and Richard Chilton, standing on a street corner looking suspicious. One would walk by a certain store window, stare in, and walk back to the other to confer. This was repeated several times, and the detective believed that they were plotting to do a store robbery. The officer approached the men and addressed himself as a policeman, and asked their names. When the men appeared suspicious in their answers, Officer McFadden patted them down and discovered that both men were armed. He proceeded to remove their guns and arrested them for carrying concealed weapons. Terry was then sentenced to three years in prison. Terry appealed the case, claiming that the guns found should be inadmissible in court proceedings as evidence since his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, where it was it was ruled that his rights had not been violated. In an 8-to-1 decision, the Court held that the search undertaken by the officer was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and that the weapons seized could be introduced into evidence against Terry. The Court found that the officer acted on more than an “hunch” and that “a reasonably prudent
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