Terry VS Ohio

Running head: TERRY VS. OHIO 1
Terry VS. Ohio
Institution of affiliation
Case Brief of Terry Vs. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) Stop and Frisk
Facts and procedural history
McFadden, who worked as a detective while working on a downtown beat, which he had
been working on for several years spotted two, Clinton and Terry who was the petitioner in this
case. Terry and Clinton were strangers in the neighborhood who was standing at the along the
street corner. Once Terry and Clinton were spotted by McFadden, they took alternate ways and
passed in front of a store later stopped and looked into the store through the window. McFadden,
who was keen on observing the two men observed the suspects looking into the store for 24
times and each time, the activity was followed by a conversation between the two. The two
suspects were later joined by a third party, Katz, who later left quickly after just a brief
appearance in the scene. McFadden suspected that the trio was up to something and walked
towards them and introduced himself as a peace officer. McFadden asked for the names of the
suspects, but they ended up mumbling, which made the detective initiate a frisk on them, an
activity that led to realizing that Terry had a pistol in his overcoat. He later ordered suspects to
get into the store, where he removed the coat of the petitioner and searched all of them later
seized the pistol of the petitioner. Additionally, he ordered the suspects to face a different
direction and face the wall while raising their hands in the air as the search continued. It is at this
point when McFadden found that Clinton too had a pistol outside his overcoat. The trio was later
taken to the police station and charged with being in possession of concealed weapons. However,
in their defense, they suppressed the weapons, arguing that the frisk by McFadden was carried
out in violation of the right against unreasonable seizures and searches in line with the provisions
of the Fourth Amendments. A court in Ohio convicted the trio with carrying weapons that were
concealed. Terry, however, appealed the decision of the Ohio court in the supreme of the USA
(Martinez, 2014)..
Can a police officer detain a person found on the streets absent probable cause and later
conduct a search that is limited to find weapons?
Yes (was affirmed by the majority). A police officer may carry out a search that is only
limited to finding weapons in the event that they observe an unusual activity that may lead to the
officer(s) reasonably suspecting that a person is carrying out or has an intention to carry out a
criminal activity afoot and the involved individual(s) is/are in possession of weapons (Martinez,
The supreme court of the USA found that that Fourth Amendment provided for the
protection against seizures and searches that are unreasonable. However, the same amendment
does not protect the suspects acting in a manner that is suspicious from being searched and their
possessions seized by the peace officers who may reasonably believe that the activities of the
suspects may escalate to the levels threatening life. While interrogating the question of whether
the evidence of the firearms that were seized can be used can be suppressed on account that that
initial approach of interrogation was in violation of the Fourth Amendment (Martinez, 2014).
The Supreme Court was convinced that the detective, who had over thirty of experience, acted in
the best interest of the description of his job, on account that he was protecting himself by
carrying out the seizure and search of weapons. The account informed the reasoning of the jury
that the detective did not carry the search to reach inside the garments until to the point when he
felt an object that he believed was a pistol on the defendant, therefore, the proper method of a
warranted seizure and search was duly followed.
The court found that the searches and seizures that were undertaken were carried out
within the scope that was limited and designed to ensure the peace officer his personal safety
while carrying out his investigations.
Martinez, J. M. (2014). The Greatest Criminal Cases: Changing the Course of American Law.
Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

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