Introduction to Criminal Justice
By Leann Rathbone
Terry vs. Ohio is a landmark case that was brought to the Supreme Court. It started on October 31st, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio, when a police officer named Martin McFadden observed two men standing outside a store front window. He watched one of the men walk down the street pausing to look into the store window when he reached the end of the street the man turned around and proceeded to walk back, pausing at the same store front window. Upon reaching the other man, the two talked. The other man then made the same trip down the street, pausing to look in the same store front window. A third man then joined the other two men at the corner. They talked and then the third man left. The two men then returned to the ritual of walking up and down the street. McFadden then followed the two men, and watched as they met up with the third man in front of the store. At this point, Officer McFadden walked up to the men, identified himself as a police officer, and asked for their names. He asked the first man, Terry, to turn around. He frisked him, and, feeling a pistol inside Terry's overcoat, he ordered the three men into the store. Terry and the second man Chilton was charged with possession of a concealed weapon, and were each sentenced to a three-year term in prison.
During the trial the defense moved to suppress the weapons, stating that you must have the probable cause that is required to place a person under arrest. The defense attorney goes on to ague that Officer McFadden did do the "smart" thing, but not a "Constitutional" thing. A "stop and frisk" is no less invasive than a warranted search, the court found that there interrogation was warranted and that the police officer had a right for his own protection to pat them down. By doing this the court distinguished between an "Investigatory Stop" and an arrest. The court also distinguished the difference between a "Frisk" of outer...