Reasonable Suspicion

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Scott R. Harvey
Reasonable Suspicion Versus Burden of Proof in Current Policing Criminal Investigation 12S-CRJU-C312-A51
Dennis Thornton
14 January 2012

This paper will show how current “Stop and Frisk” (Terry Stop, SQF) methods exercised presently diverge greatly from the initial precedent allowed in Terry v. Ohio (1968) due to the inability to concretely define reasonable suspicion as well as the broad applications of reasonable suspicion since 1968. The most notable current representation involves The New York Police Department (NYPD) and its policy regarding Terry Stops as a proactive crime prevention and investigative tool (Ridgeway, 2006). Also considering the benefits shown in Ultimately, reasonable suspicion needs to be defined concretely enough as to restrict improper justification for unwarranted searches and seizures.

Reasonable Suspicion Versus Burden of Proof In Current Policing

In considering the clarity of “reasonable suspicion” as a definitive standard today in relation to definition presented in Terry v. Ohio (1968) the definition of this concept is clearly imprecise. The varying results and interpretations’ leave significant flexibility for police to infringe upon individuals’ rights without the necessary burden of proof. In many cases following Terry v. Ohio the court has failed to be consistent in its decisions concerning what searches are deemed permissible and which are not, allowing varying levels of intrusiveness to individuals 4th Amendment rights (Kinports, 2007). While the US Judicial System has every intention of evaluating each circumstance on its own merits, it still must recognize that a clear line must distinguish what is probable cause and what is reasonable suspicion, and if neither of those it should be defined as to what it is. One major controversy in US cities today is the implementation of programs specifically promoting a “Stop, Question, and Frisk” policy for various reasons, including a...
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