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Thread: Terry Stop

  1. #1
    Regular Member cowboyridn's Avatar
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    This is about the best explanation I have found from a court case describing the legalities of a terry stop. If anyone can find a better explanation or a clearer explination, or even better, site some court cases, go ahead and post them, I’d sure like to read them.

    Don



    Fourth Amendment protections under Terry v. Ohio.

    Since Terry, Florida courts have articulated three levels of police/citizen contact: voluntary compliance during which the citizen is free to leave; an investigative stop based upon reasonable suspicion; and, arrest. State v. Roux, 702 So. 2d 240, 241 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997), reh. den., and (citing Popple v. State, 626 So. 2d 185 (Fla. 1993)). To effectuate an investigative stop, an officer must have "a founded suspicion of criminal activity" as established by the "cumulative impact of the circumstances." Kehoe v. State, 521 So. 2d 1094, 1096 (Fla. 1988). "The existence of a fourth amendment violation ‘turns on an objective assessment of the officer’s actions in light of the facts and circumstances confronting him at the time’." 521 So. 2d 1096 (approving test in Scott v. U.S., 436 U.S. 128, 136 (1978)).

    Information in an anonymous tip is insufficient on its own to establish reasonable suspicion for purposes of an investigative stop. J.L. v. State, 727 So. 2d 204, 206 (Fla. 1999), aff’d, 120 S. Ct. 1375 (2000). Reasonable suspicion can be established by verification of information from the informant coupled with independent police investigation. Id.Information from a tip is measured by its specificity, and the existence of other objective facts which provide independent corroboration of the informant’s predictions. Id.The officer must consider, given the totality of the circumstances, whether objective, reliable facts justify the stop. Id.(citing Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325 (1990)).

    Walking around an establishment legally open carrying a hand gun while shopping, and having someone call the police to report a man/woman with a gun, absent any criminal behavior reported from the caller, law enforcement have no reason to initiate an investigation into the callers report, and no reasonable suspicion to stop, detain, search, arrest or disarm the reported person with a gun.

    In J.L, an anonymous caller told police that a man in a plaid shirt standing at a certain bus stop had a gun. 727 So. 2d at 208. Officers responded to the call and observed three males at the bus stop including one wearing a plaid shirt. The officers detained and frisked all three males. The trial court granted a motion to suppress and the district court held that the tip did not give the officers a reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify temporary detention. J.L. v. State, 694 So. 2d 118, 120 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997). The Florida Supreme Court held that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to stop, detain, and frisk the three people at the bus stop because the officers did not observe any objective facts corroborating the caller’s tip. J.L. v. State, 727 So. 2d at 208. Further, all the information provided by the informant was "innocent" in nature. Id. While the officers could have engaged the three in a consensual encounter, the circumstances did not warrant active intervention into an otherwise peaceful situation. Id.

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    Unless you're in FL, it wouldn't normally be appropriate to cite to J.L. v. State, because the case was appealed to SCOTUS. You would normally cite to the SCOTUS decision in Florida v. J.L. (for which the reference is given in your text).

  3. #3
    McX
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    i should print this bad boy off, and hand it to the lucky recipient that i chance to meet. 5 bucks says he doesn't know it.

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    Regular Member cowboyridn's Avatar
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    jrm wrote:
    Unless you're in FL, it wouldn't normally be appropriate to cite to J.L. v. State, because the case was appealed to SCOTUS. You would normally cite to the SCOTUS decision in Florida v. J.L. (for which the reference is given in your text).
    True, however, even if your not in Florida, the guidance provided within the case law is still sound.

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    cowboyridn wrote:
    jrm wrote:
    Unless you're in FL, it wouldn't normally be appropriate to cite to J.L. v. State, because the case was appealed to SCOTUS. You would normally cite to the SCOTUS decision in Florida v. J.L. (for which the reference is given in your text).
    True, however, even if your not in Florida, the guidance provided within the case law is still sound.
    I think you might be missing my point. The Florida opinion has been superseded by the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the same case. It would be rare to rely on a lower court opinion in a case when a higher court has issued an opinion in the same case.

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