Terry vs. Ohio

Topics: Search and seizure, Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, United States Constitution Pages: 2 (409 words) Published: April 16, 2008
The issue brought into question in the Terry vs. Ohio case in 1968 involved a police officer, McFadden, who was patrolling the area in normal clothes. He came across two men pacing the area suspiciously and glancing into a store. He the watched them meet at a street corner frequently where they were joined by another man. After watching them do this approximately twenty-four times he approached the group and asked them their names. He patted down the overcoat that the man was wearing and felt a revolver, which he then removed. The defense argued the issue to be admissibility of evidence uncovered by an improper search and seizure. They argued that the Fourth Amendment protects the people despite where they are; at home or on the streets. It argues what a “search” truly is.
Terry was convicted for carrying a concealed weapon; giving him one to three years in jail. The appeal was denied because the state of Ohio found no “substantial constitutional question.” The motion to suppress the two guns as evidence was denied because the court believed McFadden had enough reason to believe that the defendants were up to no good. They believed McFadden was acting for his own protection and that of those around him. His experience as an officer and familiarity with this are that he had been patrolling for many years proved his suspicions correct. The court emphasized the distinction between a stop and arrest and a frisk. McFadden did not immediately engage in a full-blown search for evidence that would give evidence for a crime. The “terry frisk” became a coined term after the court ruled in favor of the police officers actions. Some precedents were considered in making this decision. Katz vs. United States declared that the Fourth Amendment protects “people, not places.” They also focused on Elkins vs. United States stating, “The Constitution forbids not all searches and seizures, but unreasonable searches and...
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