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Thread: Fourth Circuit opinion: "Man with a gun"

  1. #1
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    I prefer the dissent by Judge Gregory, in U.S. v. Griffin:
    The majority opinion brings the Fourth Amendment two steps closer to a death by a thousand cuts. Today’s decision leaves us teetering on the brink of a per se rule that any face-to-face dialogue between the police and an informant, however scant, is sufficient to create the reasonable suspicion necessary for a Terry stop in a "man with a gun" case. It then gives expansive meaning to Michigan v. Long’s limited authorization for conducting vehicle searches in connection with a Terry stop. Because I believe that today’s decision relies on an overbroad reading of this Court’s precedent and contravenes the spirit, if not the letter, of Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266, 270 (2000), I respectfully dissent.

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    Thanks for the find, Repeater.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I didn't know, so I asked Mr. Google to help me and here is what he found:

    http://www.uscourts.gov/images/CircuitMap.pdf

    Virginia is in the Fourth Circuit.

    Interesting case, as noted, the threshold for a Terry stop has been lowered by this opinion.

    TFred


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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I'm of the opinion that the search of the vehicle was invalid since the suspect was handcuffed and in the rear of the squad car. Thus there was little to support a finding of "a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts which, taken together with the reasonable inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant the officer in believing that the suspect is dangerous and the suspect may gain immediate control of weapons."

    There seems to be some disagreement within the 4th Circuit (besides the instant case) on whether or not the suspect being handcuffed and in the rear of a patrol car still is "dangerous" and "may gain immediate control of weapons". A few of those cases may be in the process of moving to SCOTUS for consideration as I sit typing this and speculate if this case will join the others seeking resolution of the question.

    Combine that with decisions from other Circuits that have laid down that being handcuffed in the read of a patrol vehicle precludes any reasonable belief that the suspect continues to be dangerous or continues to be be able to gain immediate control of weapons in some other vehicle and the need for SCOTUS to resolve the matter becomes clear.

    I would not yet hold this case as being the controlling decision on the questions in the 4th Circuit.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    skidmark wrote:
    I'm of the opinion that the search of the vehicle was invalid since the suspect was handcuffed and in the rear of the squad car. Thus there was little to support a finding of "a reasonable belief based on specific and articulable facts which, taken together with the reasonable inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant the officer in believing that the suspect is dangerous and the suspect may gain immediate control of weapons."

    There seems to be some disagreement within the 4th Circuit (besides the instant case) on whether or not the suspect being handcuffed and in the rear of a patrol car still is "dangerous" and "may gain immediate control of weapons". A few of those cases may be in the process of moving to SCOTUS for consideration as I sit typing this and speculate if this case will join the others seeking resolution of the question.

    Combine that with decisions from other Circuits that have laid down that being handcuffed in the read of a patrol vehicle precludes any reasonable belief that the suspect continues to be dangerous or continues to be be able to gain immediate control of weapons in some other vehicle and the need for SCOTUS to resolve the matter becomes clear.

    I would not yet hold this case as being the controlling decision on the questions in the 4th Circuit.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    They did address this in the opinion, the majority cited other cases that opined if the suspect were not arrested, he would then be able to retrieve a weapon hidden in the car. As I was reading it, it reminded me of the case we saw a few months ago where the police argued that if the man with the gun had been told to leave but he did not, then he would have been committing the crime of trespassing. I think the judge laughed that one out of the courtroom, however.

    TFred


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    TFred wrote:
    They did address this in the opinion, the majority cited other cases that opined if the suspect were not arrested, he would then be able to retrieve a weapon hidden in the car. As I was reading it, it reminded me of the case we saw a few months ago where the police argued that if the man with the gun had been told to leave but he did not, then he would have been committing the crime of trespassing. I think the judge laughed that one out of the courtroom, however.

    TFred
    The Fourth Circuit seems to favor a potentially dangerous standard, instead of the Terry presently dangerous standard.

    Officer safety seems to be their prime concern, not our constitutional rights.



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    TFred wrote:
    They did address this in the opinion, the majority cited other cases that opined if the suspect were not arrested, he would then be able to retrieve a weapon hidden in the car. As I was reading it, it reminded me of the case we saw a few months ago where the police argued that if the man with the gun had been told to leave but he did not, then he would have been committing the crime of trespassing. I think the judge laughed that one out of the courtroom, however.

    TFred

    The Fourth Circuit seems to favor a "potentially dangerous" standard, instead of the Terry "presently dangerous" standard.

    Officer safety seems to be their prime concern, not our constitutional rights.

    Our state Supreme Court has been better in upholding our constitutional rights.






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