I think this case is very useful to us when it comes to "reasonable suspicion" & the infamous "man with a gun" call.
In the Dudley case, the officers were responding to a report of people with guns in the vehicle. The officers conducted what the court found to amount to a Terry stop in response. Here's the gist of what the court had to say about that (bold is my emphasis):
Martin's impetus to investigate the Dudleys was a radio call alerting him to the presence of two people at the truck stop in possession of some guns. Of course the possession of firearms is not, generally speaking, a crime unless you happen to be a convicted felon, the firearms are otherwise illegal, or you are not licensed to possess the gun. Martin, presumably not clairvoyant, could not have known, and did not know, the Dudleys and their guns met all three of these criteria. In fact he testified he had absolutely no knowledge, or suspicion, that the Dudleys were engaged in any criminal activity until he discovered the first sawed-off shotgun. A telephone report of citizens possessing guns or merely engaging in "suspicious" activity, standing alone, cannot amount to reasonable suspicion of crime. Packer, 15 F.3d at 658 (telephone tip about suspicious vehicle "lacked the minimal detail of information that would point to any arguably particularized suspicion of criminal conduct.")...
...Agreed, the sight of the Dudleys' truck, overloaded with goods and converted into a camper, together with a report of guns is somewhat odd; but some mere "inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch', id., without more, is simply not enough to justify an investigatory stop...
...And, if the stop itself is unlawful, neither Terry nor Michigan v. Long authorize the police to search the suspects or the suspect's vehicle for weapons, even if the officers reasonably fear for their safety.In this case, two felons got away with several federal crimes because of abuse of power on the parts of the officers. It is important to note that the court supressed ALL evidence and statements gathered because it was all derived from an unconstitutional seizure of the Dudleys' persons. This included Mrs. Dudley's admission to possession and consent to the officers to search for the second shotgun.
The court explains that supression of evidence is not to punish the officers, but to protect the rights of the citizens by detering the behavior by the officers.
I think this case is not only a handy citation, but also a good warning to our peace officers. Especially in light of the recent Arizona v Gant decision, it is important to remind our officers to do the job properly. If they don't, bad peole will get away with bad things.