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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 182023 Find in a Library
Title: Legal: Flight of Subject Upon Observing Police; Procedural: Human Relations: Prejudice
Author(s): Joseph C. Coleman
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: South Carolina Criminal Justice Acad
Columbia, SC 29210
South Carolina Educational Television Network
Columbia, SC 29205
Sale Source: South Carolina Educational Television Network
2712 Millwood Avenue
Columbia, SC 29205
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This issue of "Crime to Court" presents and explains the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Illinois v. Wardlow (January 2000), which pertains to the flight of a subject upon observing police; also presented is an interview with a human relations instructor regarding the nature of prejudice and the instruction he provides to help prevent and eliminate prejudicial attitudes and behavior.
Abstract: Wardlow was observed by police standing next to a building holding an opaque bag. Upon seeing the police, Wardlow proceeded to run away. He was chased and cornered by the police officers and frisked. The officers discovered a .38-caliber loaded handgun in the bag and charged Wardlow with a weapons offense. The Illinois trial court denied respondent's motion to suppress, finding the gun was recovered during a lawful stop and frisk. Following a stipulated bench trial, Wardlow was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. The Illinois Appellate Court reversed Wardlow's conviction, concluding that the gun should have been suppressed because the frisking officer did not have reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify an investigative stop pursuant to Terry v. Ohio. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed with the lower appellate court. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Illinois Supreme Court, and the case was remanded for further proceedings. The "Wardlow" case stands for the proposition that unprovoked flight of a subject upon observing the appearance of the police (along with other circumstances), justifies a "Terry" stop, but that justification for the stop does not automatically justify a frisk search of the suspect. An officer must be able, not only to recite facts to support a reasonable suspicion that the subject was involved in criminal activity, but, in addition, must be able to show that it was reasonable to believe that the suspect might be armed and dangerous. The interview with the human relations instructor focuses on the definition of "prejudice," how a person becomes prejudiced, the various types of prejudice, the functions of prejudice, and what can be done to eliminate prejudice
Main Term(s): Police legal limitations
Index Term(s): Racial discrimination; Rules of evidence; Stop and frisk; US Supreme Court decisions
Note: "Crime to Court Police Officer's Handbook," April 2000
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