An Analysis of Terry v. Ohio (Essay Sample) - Essay Prowess

An Analysis of Terry v. Ohio (Essay Sample)

An Analysis of Terry v. Ohio (Essay Sample)


Terry v. Ohio in 1968 was a crucial case by the Supreme Court in United States. The court provided a new insight on the Fourth Amendment on reasonable seizures and searches.  The court argued that the Fourth Amendment is not violated when a law enforcement officer stop and frisks a suspect on the street or home with probable cause to arrest (Kanovitz, 2012). Therefore, a police can stop and search a suspect if he/she has reasonable suspicion that a suspect has committed, is about to commit or is committing a crime. In addition, a police officer may conduct searches and seizures if he/she believes that the suspect is having dangerous weapons (Medina, 2006). Moreover, police officers may perform searches on the clothing of a suspect for their own protection if they believe that the suspect is armed. The reasonable suspicion may depend on articulable and specific facts (Kanovitz, 2012). The Supreme Court verdict to uphold the decision was based on that the Fourth Amendment has certain limitations. The rule is meant to protect individuals from unreasonable seizures or searches from the police in the process of gathering evidence. However, the rule does not protect individuals on seizures and searches on the protection on offenses (Medina, 2006). It does not apply in case the safety of the law enforcement officer is not guaranteed.

Aspects of Terry v. Ohio

The case involved police officer from the Cleveland police department called Martin McFadden in 1963. While patrolling on the downtown beat, the officer encountered two suspicious young men. These two people were Richard Chilton and Terry John. They acted in as suspicious manner hence detective McFadden decided to perform searches and seizures (Kanovitz, 2012). The officer identified that the two suspects were involved in an alternatively moving forth and back on a route and they stopped to look at the window of the store. The two men also met and at a corner and they discussed shortly before then departing and repeating the same procedure. After three to four repeated movements of the operation, another person joined them where they held a brief conversation before shifty departing.

After suspecting that the two individuals were planning how to commit an act of robbery from the store, the officer followed them. The officer approached the three suspects where he identified himself as a police officer and demanded to know their names (Medina, 2006). Additionally, the officer quickly frisked the outer surfaces of Terry’s clothing and identified a revolver in his pocket. In this regard, the officer ordered the three to move in the store where he removed the pistol from Terry’s jacket (Kanovitz, 2012). He also ordered the three suspect to lay down with their hand raised up. He also identified a gun from the jacket of Chilton while he never identified anything from the Katz jacket. The three suspects were consequently charged for being in possession with concealed weapons.

First, the offender’s defense argued that it was unconstitutional to seize weapons since such attempt by police officers violated the provisions of Fourth amendment of constitution of United State (Medina, 2006). Secondly, the court acknowledged that the weapons were seized from the suspect based on reasonable suspicion that the suspect acted suspiciously. In addition, there was warranted interrogation for the case. Thirdly, the court admitted that the officer acted in the right manner for searching the outside clothes of the suspect because of her own protection (Kanovitz, 2012). Fourthly, the officer had reasonable reasons to believe that the suspects were having weapons meant to be involved in crime. Fifth, the court differentiated between investigatory search, seizures, and arrest. In addition, it also distinguished between a frisk of the outer garments and full searches for evidence during of

Activate subscription to View the Whole Post