Stop, Frisk, and the Supreme Court

Vincent A. Laubach, Comment, Stop, Frisk, and the Supreme Court, 5 Gonz. L. Rev. 40 (1969)


The right of a citizen to be free from invasions of privacy is considered an ancient and cherished one. It is this right that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution was designed to protect:

the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

It is the interpretation of this right that was implicitly involved inthe June, 1968, Supreme Court decisions on “Stop and Frisk,” Terry v. State of Ohio and Sibron v. State of New York. Because The stop and frisk issue involves an “arrest” and “search” under the less than usual requirement of warrant or probable cause, it presents an important problem regarding the traditional interpretation of the fourth amendment. The decisions, both in rationale and in background, are therefore worthy of consideration.

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