Terry V. Ohio
Ohio Case Project| | | | | Victoria Swannegan| 12/2/2010| | In 1968 a case called Terry v. Ohio took place.
This case made a big impact on the police departments of the United States by giving officers more reasons to make an arrest. A “Terry Stop” is a stop of a person by law enforcement officers based upon reasonable suspicion that a person may have been engaged in criminal activity, whereas an arrest requires probable cause that a suspect committed a criminal offense.A Cleveland detective (McFadden), on a downtown beat which he had been patrolling for many years, observed two stranger on a street corner. He saw them proceed alternately back and forth along an identical route, pausing to stare in the same store window, which they did for a total of about 24 times. Each completion of the route was followed by a conference between the two on a corner, at one of which they were joined by a third man who left swiftly.
Suspecting the two men of “casing a job, a stick-up,” the officer followed them and saw them rejoin the third man a couple of blocks away in front of a store. The officer approached the three, identified himself as a policeman, and asked their names. The men “mumbled something,” whereupon McFadden spun petitioner around, patted down his outside clothing, and found in his overcoat pocket, but was unable to remove, a pistol. The officer ordered the three into the store.He removed petitioner’s overcoat, took out a revolver, and ordered the three to face the wall with their hands raised. He patted down the outer clothing of Chilton and Katz and seized a revolver from Chilton’s outside overcoat pocket. He did not put his hands under the outer garments of Katz (since he discovered nothing in his pat-down which might have been a weapon), or under petitioner’s or Chilton’s outer garments until he felt the guns.
The three were taken to the police station. Petitioner and Chilton were charged with carrying concealed weapons.The defense moved to suppress the weapons. Though the trial court rejected the prosecution theory that the guns had been seized during a search incident to a lawful arrest, the court denied the motion to suppress and admitted the weapons into evidence on the ground that the officer had cause to believe that petitioner and Chilton were acting suspiciously, that their interrogation was warranted, and that the officer, for his own protection, had the right to pat down their outer clothing having reasonable cause to believe that they might be armed.The court distinguished between an investigatory “stop” and an arrest, and between a “frisk” of the outer clothing for weapons and a full-blown search for evidence of crime. Petitioner and Chilton were found guilty, an intermediate appellate court affirmed, and the State Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the ground that “no substantial constitutional question” was involved. Terry was protected by “The Fourth Amendment” but the officer had a probable cause.
The Fourth Amendment to the U. S.Constitution protects personal privacy, and every citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion into their persons, homes, businesses, and property, whether through police stops of citizens on the street, arrests, or searches of homes and businesses. The Fourth Amendment provides safeguards to individuals during searches and detentions, and prevents unlawfully seized items from being used as evidence in criminal cases. The degree of protection available in a particular case depends on the nature of the detention or arrest, the characteristics of the place searched, and the circumstances under which the search takes place.In the case, they used a term called “Stop and Frisk”. This is a situation in which a police officer who is suspicious of an individual detains the person and runs his hands lightly over the suspect’s outer garments to determine if the person is carrying a concealed weapon.
Unlike a full search, a frisk is generally limited to a patting down of the outer clothing. If the officer feels what seems to be a weapon, the officer may then reach inside the person’s clothing.If no weapon is felt, the search may not intrude further than the outer clothing. A full search is called “Search and Seizure”. It is the legal term used to describe a law enforcement agent’s examination of a person’s home, vehicle, or business to find evidence that a crime has been committed. If evidence is found, the agent may then “seize” it. Search and seizure also includes placing an individual under arrest.
The Terry v. Ohio case made a phenomenal change. It made a difference in which people can be searched arrested.