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NCJ Number: 97278 Find in a Library
Title: Drug Courier Profiles in Airport Stops - Legitimate Equivalents of Reasonable Suspicion?
Journal: Southwestern University Law Review  Volume:14  Issue:2  Dated:(1984)  Pages:315-355
Author(s): P M Lending
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 41
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use of drug courier profiles to justify seizures of domestic air travelers is unconstitutional and violative of the protective judicial standards of reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
Abstract: A drug courier profile is an informal compilation of allegedly shared characteristics exhibited by drug smugglers who pass through domestic airports. The seminal case involving the concept of reasonable suspicion is Terry v. Ohio. Two important cases in the area of airport profile encounters are United States v. Mendenhall and Reid v. Georgia. A survey of Federal circuit court decisions in the wake of Mendenhall and Reid illustrates the legal confusion about investigatory stops in domestic airports. The Supreme Court failed to clarify the issues in the recent case of Florida v. Royer. The Supreme Court should recognize the arbitrary and subjective nature of drug courier profiles and explicitly disallow their use as a law enforcement tool. A citizen's behavioral characteristics are not enough to justify a detention without some type of probative, articulable fact. Such an articulable fact could be an apparent bulge beneath a citizen's clothing or the actual witnessing of the exchange of contraband. The unbridled discretion of Federal agents should not be allowed to replace the particularized facts required by the fourth amendment to protect every citizen's right to freedom from unreasonable government intrusion. A total of 278 case notes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Airport drug searches; Drug smuggling; Probable cause; Search and seizure laws; US Supreme Court decisions
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