Posted: February 19th, 2023
After you do the above, write a case brief on any CRIMINAL CASE of your choice – case must be decided by the SCOTUS.” SCOTUS = Supreme Court Of The United States
Summary of the above sources – please note that you must cover at least the following 12 specific issues:
Title: Terry v. Ohio
Citation: 392 U.S. 1 (1968)
Year Decided: 1968
Judge (Justice/Judge): Earl Warren
Facts: A police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, saw two men, John W. Terry and Richard Chilton, pacing back and forth in front of a store for a long time. The officer believed the men were planning to rob the store, so he approached them and asked for their names. When they mumbled something unintelligible, the officer frisked them and found a gun on Terry.
Procedural History: Terry was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, but he argued that the evidence was obtained through an unconstitutional search and seizure. The trial court rejected his argument, and he was convicted. The Ohio Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, but the Ohio Supreme Court reversed, finding that the frisk violated Terry’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Issues: Did the officer’s search of Terry violate the Fourth Amendment? Was the search permissible under the circumstances?
Court Decision: The Court held that the search was constitutional. The Court found that the officer had reasonable suspicion to believe that Terry was armed and dangerous, based on his observations of Terry’s behavior. The Court further held that the frisk was a reasonable search for weapons, which is permitted under the Fourth Amendment.
Holding: The Court held that the officer’s search of Terry was constitutional.
Dissenting Opinion: Justice Douglas dissented, arguing that the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause for a search and that the officer’s suspicions were not enough to justify the search.
Case Significance: Terry v. Ohio established the legal principle of “stop and frisk,” which allows police officers to search people if they have reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in criminal activity and may be armed and dangerous. The decision has been controversial, with some arguing that it gives too much discretion to police officers and leads to racial profiling.
Conclusions/Discussions/Policy Implications (my views): In my view, the decision in Terry v. Ohio strikes a reasonable balance between protecting individual rights and allowing police officers to investigate potential crimes. The decision provides police officers with an important tool for ensuring public safety, but it is important that this power is used responsibly and not abused. It is also important to ensure that the stop and frisk policy is not applied disproportionately to certain groups, such as people of color, who may be subject to racial profiling. Overall, the decision in Terry v. Ohio reflects the need to balance the competing interests of public safety and individual rights.
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