An Analysis of the Shift-in-Purpose Approach to Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence in Delaware
Charles B. Vincent
Labaton Sucharow LLP; Widener University - School of Law; Delaware Journal of Corporate Law
Delaware Law Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2012, pp. 95-111
Over the past three years, the Delaware Supreme Court has issued a series of opinions analyzing police encounters with citizens and the encounters’ effects on subsequent motions to suppress. In these opinions, the Court has attempted to clarify the murky Fourth Amendment line where a consensual encounter may turn into something different. This article discusses those cases in the context of a Fourth Amendment continuum, and it proposes a straightforward framework counsel may use to explore the underlying encounter and aid the trial court’s analysis of a motion to suppress. Adopting the proposed “shift in purpose” framework could help prosecutors, defense counsel, and the trial judge determine whether and at what point (if at all) a police officer has violated a person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment or the Delaware Constitution. The article then examines additional doctrines that may apply when there has been such a violation. Finally, the article concludes with a brief examination of the Delaware Supreme Court’s recent decision in Moore v. State, which applied some of these principles.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: 4th amendment, search and seizure, consensual encounter, stop and frisk, Terry Stop, Delaware, Section 1902
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Date posted: April 4, 2013
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