Terry v. Ohio: The Background
Martin McFadden was a police officer in Ohio who noticed that two individuals appeared to be acting suspiciously. While watching these people from his police car, Officer McFadden noticed that these two men appeared to be planning a criminal attack. The two men were walking back and forth in front of a store while conspiring with each other. When McFadden approached the two men and identified himself as a law enforcement officer, he walked them down the street and frisked them for weapons or illegal drugs. When searching the men, Officer McFadden found a handgun. The individuals were taken into police custody and charged with carrying a concealed weapon.
John Terry, one of the men arrested, claimed that Officer McFadden lacked evidence and probable cause to perform the frisk. To engage in this action, Officer McFadden would need hard evidence that showed that the men were on the verge of committing a crime. John Terry claimed that the search was illegal because it invaded his right to privacy.
Jon Terry’s main defense lies in the due process clause of the United States Constitution. The Due Process clause states that the United States Federal Government must uphold the legal rights and liberties of its citizens when they are arrested or taken into custody.
Terry v. Ohio: The Case Profile
The Terry v. Ohio case took place on December 12th of 1976. The case was filed by John Terry who claimed that his arrest resulted from an invasion of his privacy. Terry believed that Officer McFadden violated his 4th Amendment rights, which protect citizens of the United States from unlawful searches and seizures conducted by police officers or law enforcement agents.
The case between Terry v. Ohio was heard in the United States Supreme Court and decided on June 10th of 1968.
Terry v. Ohio: The Verdict
The United States Supreme Court in Terry v. Ohio ruled in favor of the state, claiming that Officer McFadden’s search was initiated from evidence and reasonable suspicion. The United States Supreme Court therefore ruled that Officer McFadden possessed probable cause; the court viewed the two men as being a threat to society, therefore allowing Officer McFadden to conduct a search.
In Terry v. Ohio, John Terry’s claim that Officer McFadden violated his privacy and conducted an illegal search was not upheld by the United States Supreme Court. The 4th Amendment does prohibit law officers from conducting search and seizures without probable cause, but in this matter, the court not only ruled Officer McFadden in possession of probably cause, but also viewed Terry and his accomplice as threats to society.