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The case Terry versus Ohio traces back to 1963 when an experienced police officer on patrol saw two men who acted in a suspicious manner. The name of the police officer was Martin MacFadden, and he was 62 years of age. He was well known for arresting pickpockets due to his long experience. On 31 October 1963, he came across John W. Terry and Richard Chilton in the course of his patrol. The men acted in a manner that suggested they had an ill agenda. Another man, Katz with whom they had a brief conversation, then joined them. Katz left and they continued with their suspicious actions before rejoining him. Martin MacFadden who was clad in plain clothes during the patrol then approached the men, introduced himself as a state police officer, and asked the men to introduce themselves. At this point, he patted down Terry on his outside clothing and found with him a pistol. After retrieving a pistol from Terry, he proceeded to pat down Richard Chilton and Katz. In the process, he found Chilton with another pistol but found nothing on Katz. He took all the three suspects to the station. John W. Terry and his ally Richard Chilton were charged with carrying hidden weapons. The supreme court of Ohio found both of these suspects guilty of carrying concealed weapons. Terry and Chilton were not satisfied with the decision of the Ohio Supreme Court. This prompted them to move and appeal at The US Supreme Court where they thought they would get a fairer judgment. This brought about this famous case Terry versus Ohio.
This case happened in the US Supreme Court. The dissatisfaction with the initial judgment at the Ohio Supreme Court in motivated the defendants to move on and file an appeal. The case had initially been determined on the Ohio Court and the suspects had been found guilty of carrying concealed weapons. The Court was a hope for them because they believed it would act in their favor. The case involved various parties who all wanted to be heard. Firstly, it involved Terry who was the prime suspect in the case. He was the first individual to be discovered with the pistol in his overcoat. In addition, it involved Richard Chilton who had been arrested alongside Terry while suspiciously walking on Euclid Street. A pat on his outside clothing indicated that he also carried a pistol in his overcoat. The two were suspected to be on a robbery mission in the area. The other party was a famous police detective, Martin MacFadden. His vast experience in the police force had made him one of the best working patrol police officers. He had arrested several pickpockets in his patrols and thus his subsequent work was never in doubt and was not subject to questioning.
It happened because the defendants were not satisfied with the initial judgment delivered by the Ohio Supreme Court. The initial court judgment had emphasized that the men were guilty of because they were carrying concealed weapons. The defendants had been initially arrested in the streets while acting in a suspicious manner. The detective on patrol patted them down and luckily, two pistols were recovered from them. They were then taken to court where they pleaded not guilty, but the judge found them guilty. Their ultimate decision was Tom to appeal, and it is what brought about this case. The defendants’ wish to get a fairer judgment from an upper authority contributed to the availability of this case in 1967.
The plain cloth detective conducted a pat frisk on John W. Terry and Richard Chilton. He patted on Terry’s outside clothing and felt a pistol. Now, he ordered them to get into the store. He retrieved a gun from Terry. This prompted him to conduct the pat frisk on Richard Chilton and Matz. He again recovered a pistol from Chilton. The pat frisk helped in the recovery of pistols, which were probably going to abet a robbery. The pistols were found hidden in the overcoats of the suspects.
Reasonable suspicion means that there is enough reason to conduct a pat search on an individual. This is mainly conducted especially when the police officers have strong ground to believe that an individual in question could be dangerous to the rest of the society if left to go scot- free. Reasonable suspicion is drawn from ones reactions and actions. It is identified when one does not seem to act in the normal way. The police officer could then be obliged to conduct a search on the individual. They are not bound to ask for permission before conducting the pat frisk nor are they bound to produce a search warrant. They do this for the public interest. They conduct the pat frisks to eliminate any looming danger or ill missions about to be committed by the individual. The police officers are thus subjected to flexibility under reasonable suspicion. They could interrogate and even arrest any persons suspected to be on a robbery mission. If the police further believe the individual is armed, the police have a right to frisk him and search for any weapons. This is conducted for the interest of the public. It is the public being protected from the looming criminal activities and thus everyone must cooperate and if possible assist the police in the exercise. This should not violet the Fourth Amendment.
The suspects put up a spirited defense. They claimed that the use of the seized weapons as the incriminating evidence against them be thrown out. They agitated that this evidence be rejected on the grounds of inadmissibility. The suspects claimed that the search and the subsequent recovery of the weapons had infringed on their constitutional rights. They claimed that their rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States had been infringed on. They held that the police officer’s search on them was unlawful; thus, they were not bound to answer anything in court. Their arrest was also held as being illegal and against the law. They claimed that MacFadden did not have a valid research warrant to pat- frisk them. In addition, they emphasized that the police detective had no reasonable grounds to arrest and take them to court. They thus wanted the incriminating evidence against them to be converted to exonerating evidence for them to be freed on grounds of innocence.
The officer had observed the suspect for a longer period. Their continuous suspicious actions are the pull factors that made him approach them. He took action to approach them basing on their behavior that seemed suggestive of some ill plan. He took the point of introducing himself as a police officer to see the reaction of the suspects and finally confirm his doubts. He then went ahead to ask for their names. The men just mumbled. These suspicious behaviors among the suspects are what made him take action to frisk their outer clothing. He sensed that the abnormal reactions from the man suggested that they could be having something dangerous. Therefore, he decided to frisk them. This finally yielded the required results and his fears were confirmed. The action was taken basing on the suspicious reactions of the men he had been observing for a longer period. From experience, he thought it better approaching the men, conduct the necessary searches for any weapon, and protect the public interest.
This case is significant to the entire society. It helps protect the public from the looming attacks. In addition, the police officers are protected. The case is significant because it gives police officers an express right to stop, investigate, and frisk any suspected individual. The police are free to conduct frisks on any individuals though to be a threat to the security of any public place. This is done basing on suitable grounds to search the individual. It gives the police powers to prevent crimes and robberies through initial intervention. The case is significant because it ensures that the constitutional rights of the individuals are adhered to. For instance, the case emphasizes that, during these pat frisks, the rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States must be up held. This is vital because it ensures that the arrests and searches are done under the provisions of the law that ensures fairness to everyone. It ensures that both sides of the divide are given enough time to be heard and express their responses.
The court passed numerous rules in this case. For instance, the Supreme Court ruled that the suspects enjoyed qualified protection from the interim detention. This was in accordance with the Fourth Amendment. The court asserted that it must first ensure that the rights of the suspects are given a first priority. It went ahead to state that the Fourth Amendment governs areas where individuals expect a high degree of privacy and non-interference from government agencies. It stated that walking along the street, Terry and Chilton did not expect that the law enforcing officers would infringe their personal liberty on. This thus raises the question of the privacy of the individual.
Secondly, the Supreme Court ruled that the defendants’ freedoms were infringed on when they encountered the police officer. The court emphasized that any time an individual is tracked down by a police officer for questioning means the police has seized the individual. This is as provided by the Fourth Amendment of the constitution. The court further added that it would be nothing less than the torture of English language to imply that MacFadden’s pat down amounts to a search as defined by the constitution. This is because a search is a more advanced and thorough technique for revealing the desired results.
In the third ruling, the court stated that MacFadden acted reasonably, when he encountered the defendants. The court emphasized this as admissible because it is outlined in the Fourth Amendment. Any reasonable grounds to believe that an individual is a threat should lead to the necessary actions such as part frisk conducted by the police officer.
The court then finally held that Terry and his colleague were guilty because there was no substantial constitutional question that had been infringed on. The judges further stated that the officer had a reasonable ground to conduct the stop-pat-frisk on them. This was because of their suspicious behavior. The court passed these rules to reaffirm the position of the constitution in this matter before producing the final verdict. It wanted to ensure that ever side was addresses adequately and informed of the constitutional matters before any action was to be taken. This is a vital process of the court to make sure the rights of every individual involved in the case is informed of the rights applicable to him.
These rules have profoundly affected the performance of duties by the police officers. For instance, the police have been stopped from lawfully stopping and interrogating an individual unless unusual behavior has been observed. This means that the officers are not allowed to stop anyone they perceive a robber but should only do so after they spot strange behavior in the actions of the individual. In addition, they are not bound to stop somebody and interrogate him without adequate reasons to do so. In addition, the police officers have been stopped from conducting searches on people during detention. This implies that they cannot lower the dignity of the suspect by thoroughly intruding into his privacy. Thus, all individuals, whether detained or not are not bound to be searched by the police officers. They are only limited to search the suspect’s outer clothing unless there is a reasonable ground to believe that the suspect is carrying dangerous weapons thus could pose serious threats to the public as a whole. The evidence obtained under these restrictions is deemed as admissible under the provisions of the Fourth Amendment of the United States.
A pat frisk is a method used to reveal the weapons carried by an individual, but is only limited to the outside clothing. On the other hand, a search is a method used to reveal the weapons carried by an individual but involves sinking deeper into an individual’s privacy or clothing. A pat is conducted by feeling an individual just on top of his clothes meaning that weapons hidden deep inside cannot be revealed. A search constitutes the revelation of the finer details of the individual as it goes deeper. A search is used to reveal harmful weapons thus providing security to the police officer and the public. An example of a pat frisk is the tapping on one’s pockets to reveal if they are carrying anything. A search example is the removal of one’s clothing for the revelation of the required information. This would be vital because the suspect is checked in all areas believed to be hiding the given weapons.
In conclusion, this was a case determined in 1968 by the United States of America Supreme Court. The defendants had not been satisfied with the initial judgment that held that they were guilty. They claimed that the case against them was inadmissible in court because of its infringement on their constitutional rights. They claimed that the actions conducted by the officer had significantly impacted on their rights and freedoms. The main task the court was to deal with was to establish whether the police officer’s action was a stop-frisk check or a search. It was revealed that this was a search. The grounds for the search were to be also established. It was established that there were reasonable grounds for the search to be conducted as provided by the Fourth Amendment. The police officer was thus justified in arresting the suspects and forwarding them to the authorities. The defendants presented their arguments, but it was ultimately decided that they were guilty as per the provisions of the Fourth Amendment. The rulings emphasized that the police should not lawfully stop individuals unless there is a sign of unusual behavior among them. Individuals are not bound to be interrogated by the police. This can only be done if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they could commit an offence. Those in detention are also protected from the common police search. The police are not allowed to search the people detained and evidence used against the person is only supposed to conform to the Fourth Amendment.
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