What's Fear Got to Do with it?: The 'Armed and Dangerous' Requirement of Terry

43 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2016

See all articles by Gerald S. Reamey

Gerald S. Reamey

St. Mary's University School of Law

Date Written: March 28, 2016


Reason to believe a person may be involved in criminal activity is not necessarily also reason to believe that person is armed and dangerous. "Stop and frisk," therefore, more accurately should be thought of as "stop and maybe frisk." But courts have conflated or ignored these two distinctive kinds of suspicion, inviting police officers to frisk automatically during an investigative detention, a practice that ignores the reasonableness requirement of the Fourth Amendment and subjects suspects to the indignity and intrusion of a search unsupported by any level of suspicion. This article explores some of the ways in which this undermining of Terry v. Ohio has occurred, and why the important values achieved by prudence should not be used casually to trump individual freedom from search.

Keywords: search and seizure, stop and frisk, frisk, pat-down, armed and dangerous, search, Terry v. Ohio, protective search, reasonable suspicion, investigative detention, detention, Terry stop, weapon search

JEL Classification: K4, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Reamey, Gerald S., What's Fear Got to Do with it?: The 'Armed and Dangerous' Requirement of Terry (March 28, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2755712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2755712

Gerald S. Reamey (Contact Author)

St. Mary's University School of Law ( email )

210-431-2233 (Phone)
210-436-3717 (Fax)

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