Terry vs Ohio
In Terry v. Ohio (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution permits a law enforcement officer to stop, detain, and frisk persons who are
suspected of criminal activity without first obtaining their consent, even though the officer may
lack a warrant to conduct a search or Probable Cause to make an arrest. Now known as a Terry
stop, this type of police encounter is constitutionally permissible only when an officer can
articulate a particularized, objective, and reasonable basis for believing that criminal activity may
be a foot or that a given suspect may be armed and dangerous.
Terry vs. Ohio is a landmark case that was brought to the Supreme Court. It started on
October 31st, 1963, in Cleveland, Ohio, when a police officer named Martin McFadden observed
two men standing outside a store front window. He watched one of the men walk down the street
pausing to look into the store window when he reached the end of the street the man turned
around and proceeded to walk back, pausing at the same store front window. Upon reaching the
other man, the two talked. The other man then made the same trip down the street, pausing to
look in the same store front window. A third man then joined the other two men at the corner.
They talked and then the third man left. The two men then returned to the ritual of walking up
and down the street. McFadden then followed the two men, and watched as they met up with the
third man in front of the store. Over a period of ten to twelve minutes, the three men looked into
the same store window approximately 24 times. Based on his training as an officer and 39 years
of experience on the police force, including 35 as a detective, McFadden believed that the
suspects were "casing" the store for a Robbery. At this point, Officer McFadden walked up to
the men, identified himself as a police officer, and asked for their names. He asked the...