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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 65264 Find in a Library
Title: NON-INVESTIGATORY POLICE ENCOUNTERS
Journal: HARVARD CIVIL RIGHTS-CIVIL LIBERTIES LAW REVIEW  Volume:13  Issue:3  Dated:(1978)  Pages:689-716
Author(s): J M BURKOFF
Corporate Author: Harvard University
Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 36
Sponsoring Agency: Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: NON-INVESTIGATORY FRISKS AND STOPS OF CITIZENS BY POLICE INVADE PRIVACY, TRANSGRESS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, AND CAUSE RESENTMENT AND THEREBY ERODE CITIZEN SUPPORT FOR THE POLICE.
Abstract: TENSION OFTEN ARISES BETWEEN PUBLIC INTEREST IN CONTROLLING CRIME AND CITIZENS' RIGHTS OF PRIVACY, BUT IS ESPECIALLY HIGH DURING NON-INVESTIGATORY FRISKS AND STOPS. THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF SUCH ENCOUNTERS IS UNCLEAR, BUT THE SUPREME COURT (TERNY V. OHIO, ADAMS V. WILLIAMS, PENNSYLVANIA V. MIMMS) HAS DEVELOPED GUIDELINES, RULING THAT INVOLUNTARY SEARCHES ON SUSPICION ARE FOURTH AMENDMENT SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, PERMISSIBLE ONLY IF THE OFFICER SUSPECTS IMMINENT CRIME. IT WAS FURTHER RULED THAT POLICE MAY STOP AND FRISK TO DETERMINE A SUSPECT'S IDENTITY ONLY IF PRIOR INFORMATION JUSTIFIES IT. MANY POLICE DEPARTMENTS HOWEVER, PERMIT OFFICERS TO DISREGARD THE SUPREME COURT GUIDELINES. COURTS HOLD UP THE TERRY V. OHIO DECISION TO JUSTIFY THESE ACTIONS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS REASONABLE SUSPICION OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT A TERRY STOP. THE CASES ARE OF TWO SORTS: THOSE WHERE THE COURT HAS PERMITTED A STOP AS THE ONLY EFFICIENT MEANS FOR ENFORCING A GIVEN STATUTE AND THOSE IN WHICH THE COURT HAS APPLIED A BALANCING THEORY AND HAS CONCLUDED THE PERCEIVED NECESSITY FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY OUTWEIGHS THE INTRUSION OF PERSONAL PRIVACY. BUT THESE KINDS OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS ARE A MISUSE OF THE TERRY RULING, WHICH DID NOT DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY LEGITIMIZE NON-INVESTIGATORY POLICE ENCOUNTERS. POLICE, BECAUSE THEY ARE GIVEN LARGE AMOUNTS OF DISCRETION AND BECAUSE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT THEIR JUDGMENTS OF WHOM TO STOP ARE HIGHLY INFLUENCED BY STEREOTYPES AND DISCRIMINATION, MUST BE CURBED IN THIS NON-INVESTIGATORY ACTIVITY. IN ANY CASE, EVIDENCE DOES NOT SUGGEST THAT THESE ACTIVITIES ARE EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTING AND DETECTING CRIME. RATHER, THEY ARE MAINLY EFFICACIOUS IN BRINGING ABOUT COMMUNITY RESENTMENT OF POLICE AND EROSION OF COMMUNITY SUPPORT. (PAP)
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Police community relations; Police discretion; Police legal limitations; Right of privacy; Search and seizure; Search and seizure laws; Warrantless search
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65264

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