Thursday, February 10, 2005

Terry Searches

Terry V Ohio (1968)- A decision by US Supreme Court (8-1) ruling that police officers MAY perform searches WITHOUT probable cause but as long as the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the person stopped and searched is committing a crime or is about to. This court ruling means that the Fourth Amendment that guards against unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated by such Terry searches. The court held that “what the constitution forbids is not all searches and seizures, but unreasonable searches and seizures.”
This seems to lower the bar on restraint shown by police officers in making searches. Reasonable suspicion is far, far less than probable cause. According to the ACLU, in practice, “reasonable suspicion” translates into either being black or living in a bad neighborhood.


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