A Case Study of Terry vs. Ohio
Dr. Joan Cephas
SOC 205 – Week 3 Case Study 1
October 22, 2013
The case study I have chosen to review is Terry v. Ohio. As a law enforcement officer I can truly appreciate this ruling and can relate to the ways it has enhanced the ability of the beat officer when it comes to dealing with potentially armed and dangerous suspects. I will also discuss how this ruling protects the citizen on the street from unreasonable search and seizure encounters.
So now the question comes, how did we get to this ruling? A Cleveland Police Detective named Martin McFadden was patrolling an area of downtown Cleveland that he had patrolled for about 30 years. He was detailed to look for shoplifters and pickpockets in the area and had come to know the regulars in the area and was quick to notice if someone did not belong in there. On this particular occasion, October 31, 1963 at approximately 2:30 p.m. two men caught the attention of Detective McFadden. They would later be identified as the petitioner John W. Terry and a gentleman by the name of Chilton. What caught the detective’s eye was that the two men appeared to be walking in front of a store and each would stop and look into the window. The men then would meet back up and appear to be having a conversation about what they had observed. This went on for about ten minutes and then the two joined a third man who was later identified as a gentleman with the last name Katz. This suspicious behavior led this seasoned detective to believe the three were probably casing the store and planned to rob it. Based on his experience and knowledge the detective felt he had enough reasonable suspicion to confront the men and determine what their business was in the area. Note the term I used reasonable suspicion, it will be important later when I explain why the courts ruled the way they did. Reasonable suspicion is information which is sufficient to cause a reasonable law...