THE "TERRY" STOP --- CRIMINAL TRIALS UPDATE BLOG: Defense Attorney Charles Jerome Ware
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THE "TERRY" STOP
A "Terry stop" is a brief detention of a person by police based upon reasonable suspicion of the person's involvement in criminal activity. A "Terry stop" is not an arrest. The name "Terry stop" comes from the case of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S.1 (1968), in which the United States Supreme Court held that police may briefly detain a person who they reasonably suspect is involved in criminal activity [and see, Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District, 542 U.S.177 (2004)].
(1) "Terry" Stop in Maryland. On 2/14/2011, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (MCSA) ruled that a lower (circuit) court erred by denying the defendant's motion to suppress a gun found in the defendant's car during the police officer's "Terry" stop. The appellate court's reasoning was that the officer, who patted down the defendant based on "furtive" (stealthy or surreptitious) hand movements, failed to articulate in court sufficient grounds for the intrusion.
[In re Jeremy P., No. 1820, September Term, 2009]
(2) "Terry" Stop in the 11th Federal Circuit. On October 2nd 2012, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that brief questioning by a police officer of a driver for reasons unrelated to the stop did not exceed the scope of a "constitutional stop and frisk". Therefore, the defendant's suppression in the trial court was reversed.
[United States v. Griffin, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20543 (11th Circuit, October 2nd, 2012); and see, United States v. Digiovanni, 650 F. 3d 298, 507 (4th Cir. 2011)]
(3) "Terry" Stop and Police Officer's "Incredible" Testimony. On October 3rd, 2012, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals refused to overturn the conviction of a man who appealed, inter alia, because of the "incredibility" of the officer's testimony in making the "Terry" stop. According to the Court, the officer's testimony may well have been incredible, and consequently unreliable, but it was not "contrary to the laws of nature or so inconsistent or improbable on its face that no fact finder could accept it".
[United States v. Dixon, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 20617 (11th Circuit, October 3rd, 2012); an unpublished opinion out of the Middle District of Florida]
[thedailyrecord.com/ 2011-02-13/Opinions/Maryland Court of Special Appeals; see, Maryland v. Shatzer, __U.S., 130 S. Ct. 1213 (2010); www.fourthamendment.com/blog; lawyersusaonline.com/blog/2012/10/04]