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Paper Topic:

Terry v. Ohio

Running head : TERRY VERSUS OHIO

Analyzing the Case of Terry Versus Ohio

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Abstract

The 1968 case of Terry versus Ohio have raised a lot of different issues concerning the Fourth Amendment . A lot of people questioned whether the Supreme Court made the right decision , or if the Fourth Amendment was clearly bent to side with the police officer who made the search . The decision to side with the police officer created a number of skeptics who believe that the decision was indeed biased p

Analyzing the Case of Terry Versus Ohio

On October 31 , 1963 , a Cleveland police detective saw two men , one of them identified as John W . Terry , standing on a street corner and acting suspiciously . Suspecting the two men of casing ' the store for a robbery , the police officer followed them and saw them rejoin a third man a couple of blocks away . After a brief questioning , the officer proceeded to pat them down for weapons and discovered that Terry was indeed armed . He removed their guns and arrested them for carrying concealed weapons . When the trial court denied his motion to suppress Terry pleaded not guilty , but the court adjudged him guilty and sentenced him to one to three years in prison

The Fourth Amendment was designed to protect "people , not places against "unreasonable searches and seizures " The question the Court confronted was whether in all the circumstances of this on-the-street encounter , Terry 's reasonable expectation of privacy had been impermissibly invaded . Police argue that they require a certain flexibility in dealing with quickly evolving and potentially dangerous situations that arise during routine patrol of the streets . On the other hand , those suspicious of giving the police broad investigatory power contended that the police should not be able to assert their authority over citizens without some specific justification upon intrusion into protected personal security , coupled with judicial oversight to ensure that the police do not routinely abuse their authority . For the Court however , the question was not the propriety of the police actions in the abstract but the admissibility of the evidence obtained through that police action . This became their basis of making the decision to convict Terry rather than question the officer 's actions

The Fourth Amendment only applies to seizures , and so the Court had to confront a necessary threshold question -- when is a person "seized " for purposes of the Fourth Amendment ? The Court rejected the idea that a "stop and frisk " could categorically never be a search or seizure subject to the protection of the Fourth Amendment . Instead , it made room for the idea that some police action short of a traditional arrest could constitute a seizure -- that is "whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away , he has seized that person " Searches that start out as reasonable may "violate the Fourth Amendment by virtue of their intolerable intensity and scope " Thus , the scope of the search must be justified by the...

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