Terry V Ohio - Case Study Example

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In this paper “Terry V Ohio case” the author examines the case which was brought to the US Supreme Court in which they decided that unreasonable searches were not against the 4 Amendment when this act was carried out by a police officer who felt it his responsibility to check a suspicious individual…
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Terry V Ohio case
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Download file to see previous pages The detective observed John Terry and Richard Chilton standing on a street corner. They were seen walking back and forth alternately using the same route and stopping to stare at a store in the street. This was done five or six times by each individual leading to a walk up and down the street about twelve times. Each time this walk was over they would pause and talk to each other. During one of these trips in front of the store, a third man joined the two and spoke to them for a brief period before leaving. Identified as Katz, the detective felt this was a set-up for holding up the store, especially when all three individuals rejoined a few blocks away from the store. McFadden then went up to the three men and asked them their names. They were unable to give an answer which created further suspicion in the officer’s mind. The officer quickly reached out to pat the clothes of one of these men during which he came upon a gun in Terry’s overcoat pocket. Reaching inside to remove the gun, McFadden was unable to grasp it and take it out. Thus, he asked Terry to remove the coat itself. This allowed him to take out the revolver. Ordering the men to face the wall with their arms raised the officer was able to check the clothing of the other two men: Katz and Chilton. Chilton too was found carrying a gun. During the pat-down the officer had not been able to find anything on Katz which is why the outer garments of this individual were not checked. Terry and Chilton had been given the same pat-down but upon discovering the weapons., the officer put his hands under their garments to remove the guns. Taking the three men with him to the police station, they were charged with carrying concealed weapons.
The defendants of these three individuals then used the seizure and search of the weapons as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. This amendment is part of the Bill of Rights in the United States constitution and protects individuals from irrational seizures and searches. According to this amendment a search warrant has to present to the individual before they can be checked otherwise it will be abusing the law. This warrant also has to be presented by a court that must be given proper reason for its issuing. The importance of this warrant is such that anyone who disobeys it or gives it for an unreasonable cause will also be held accountable in court Thus, under this view the defendants presented their clients as being wrongfully abused by the law.
Chief Justice Warren presided over this case and began with the principles established in the Fourth Amendment. The first was that the Fourth Amendment was responsible for protecting people, rather than places and thus gave as much protection to the citizen on the street as to the one at home (Legal Information Institute). Thus, the Court now had to decide whether it was illegal for the officer to check these men without warrant.
The problem that arose was the idea of stop and frisk which had occasionally been used by police officers to check suspicious individuals. The problem was that giving the officers so much power without a legal justification could lead to violation of personal security and abuse of authority. The police officers felt that this move was necessary to prevent situations could become dangerous and this stop ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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