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"Terry v. Ohio" (1968) by GPT4.0

 "Terry v. Ohio" (1968) is a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that established the legal basis for the "stop and frisk" practice by police, addressing the balance between an individual’s right to personal security and the public interest in crime prevention and detection.


- John W. Terry: The case involved John W. Terry and two other men who were stopped and frisked by a Cleveland police officer. The officer observed the men acting suspiciously, which led him to suspect they were planning a robbery. During the frisk, he found weapons on Terry.

- Legal Challenge: Terry was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, but he challenged the constitutionality of the search, arguing it violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Legal Issue:

- "Stop and Frisk" under the Fourth Amendment: The central legal question was whether the police officer’s actions in stopping and frisking Terry, without a warrant or probable cause for arrest, were reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

The Decision:

- 8-1 Majority: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state, upholding the officer's actions as reasonable.

- Opinion by Chief Justice Warren: Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the majority opinion.

Key Legal Points:

- Reasonable Suspicion: The Court held that the police can stop and frisk a person without probable cause to arrest if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and may be armed and dangerous.

- Limited Scope of Search: The Court emphasized that such a search must be limited to a pat-down for weapons and cannot be a general search for evidence of a crime.

- Balance of Interests: The decision balanced the need to protect police and the public against potential violence with the need to safeguard individual rights against arbitrary police interference.

Impact and Legacy:

- Establishment of "Stop and Frisk" Doctrine: "Terry v. Ohio" established the legal framework for "stop and frisk," allowing police to briefly detain and search individuals under certain conditions, a practice that has become a common police procedure.

- Debate and Controversy: The ruling has been both influential and controversial, particularly in discussions about racial profiling and the rights of individuals in encounters with law enforcement.

- Guidance for Law Enforcement: The decision provides clear guidelines for law enforcement on the limits of permissible police conduct in stop-and-frisk situations.

"Terry v. Ohio" remains a critical decision in American criminal law, often cited in cases involving police encounters and the constitutional limits of search and seizure.


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