Supreme CourL
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7>?@AB CADAEFA> 1.+ 1-3='
CADGBAB H@IA 1J+ 1-34'
A Cleveland deLecLlve (Mcladden), on a downLown beaL whlch he had been paLrolllng
for many years, observed Lwo sLrangers (peLlLloner and anoLher man, ChllLon) on a
sLreeL corner. Pe saw Lhem proceed alLernaLely back and forLh along an ldenLlcal rouLe,
pauslng Lo sLare ln Lhe same sLore wlndow, whlch Lhey dld for a LoLal of abouL 24 Llmes.
Lach compleLlon of Lhe rouLe was followed by a conference beLween Lhe Lwo on a
corner, aL one of whlch Lhey were [olned by a Lhlrd man (kaLz) who lefL swlfLly.
SuspecLlng Lhe Lwo men of "caslng a [ob, a sLlck-up," Lhe offlcer followed Lhem and saw
Lhem re[oln Lhe Lhlrd man a couple of blocks away ln fronL of a sLore. 1he offlcer
approached Lhe Lhree, ldenLlfled hlmself as a pollceman, and asked Lhelr names. 1he
men "mumbled someLhlng," whereupon Mcladden spun peLlLloner around, paLLed
down hls ouLslde cloLhlng, and found ln hls overcoaL pockeL, buL was unable Lo remove,
a plsLol. 1he offlcer ordered Lhe Lhree lnLo Lhe sLore. Pe removed peLlLloner's overcoaL,
Look ouL a revolver, and ordered Lhe Lhree Lo face Lhe wall wlLh Lhelr hands ralsed. Pe
paLLed down Lhe ouLer cloLhlng of ChllLon and kaLz and selzed a revolver from ChllLon's
ouLslde overcoaL pockeL. Pe dld noL puL hls hands under Lhe ouLer garmenLs of kaLz
(slnce he dlscovered noLhlng ln hls paL-down whlch mlghL have been a weapon), or
under peLlLloner's or ChllLon's ouLer garmenLs unLll he felL Lhe guns. 1he Lhree were
Laken Lo Lhe pollce sLaLlon. ÞeLlLloner and ChllLon were charged wlLh carrylng [392 u.S.
1, 2] concealed weapons. 1he defense moved Lo suppress Lhe weapons. 1hough Lhe
Lrlal courL re[ecLed Lhe prosecuLlon Lheory LhaL Lhe guns had been selzed durlng a
search lncldenL Lo a lawful arresL, Lhe courL denled Lhe moLlon Lo suppress and admlLLed
Lhe weapons lnLo evldence on Lhe ground LhaL Lhe offlcer had cause Lo belleve LhaL
peLlLloner and ChllLon were acLlng susplclously, LhaL Lhelr lnLerrogaLlon was warranLed,
and LhaL Lhe offlcer for hls own proLecLlon had Lhe rlghL Lo paL down Lhelr ouLer cloLhlng
havlng reasonable cause Lo belleve LhaL Lhey mlghL be armed. 1he courL dlsLlngulshed
beLween an lnvesLlgaLory "sLop" and an arresL, and beLween a "frlsk" of Lhe ouLer
cloLhlng for weapons and a full-blown search for evldence of crlme. ÞeLlLloner and
ChllLon were found gullLy, an lnLermedlaLe appellaLe courL afflrmed, and Lhe SLaLe
Supreme CourL dlsmlssed Lhe appeal on Lhe ground LhaL "no subsLanLlal consLlLuLlonal
quesLlon" was lnvolved. Peld:
1. 1he lourLh AmendmenL rlghL agalnsL unreasonable searches and selzures, made
appllcable Lo Lhe SLaLes by Lhe lourLeenLh AmendmenL, "proLecLs people, noL places,"
and Lherefore applles as much Lo Lhe clLlzen on Lhe sLreeLs as well as aL home or
elsewhere. Þp. 8-9.
2. 1he lssue ln Lhls case ls noL Lhe absLracL proprleLy of Lhe pollce conducL buL Lhe
admlsslblllLy agalnsL peLlLloner of Lhe evldence uncovered by Lhe search and selzure. Þ.
3. 1he excluslonary rule cannoL properly be lnvoked Lo exclude Lhe producLs of
leglLlmaLe and resLralned pollce lnvesLlgaLlve Lechnlques, and Lhls CourL's approval of
such Lechnlques should noL dlscourage remedles oLher Lhan Lhe excluslonary rule Lo
curLall pollce abuses for whlch LhaL ls noL an effecLlve sancLlon. Þp. 13-13.
4. 1he lourLh AmendmenL applles Lo "sLop and frlsk" procedures such as Lhose followed
here. Þp. 16-20.
(a) Whenever a pollce offlcer accosLs an lndlvldual and resLralns hls freedom Lo walk
away, he has "selzed" LhaL person wlLhln Lhe meanlng of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. Þ. 16.
(b) A careful exploraLlon of Lhe ouLer surfaces of a person's cloLhlng ln an aLLempL Lo
flnd weapons ls a "search" under LhaL AmendmenL. Þ. 16.
3. Where a reasonably prudenL offlcer ls warranLed ln Lhe clrcumsLances of a glven case
ln bellevlng LhaL hls safeLy or LhaL of oLhers ls endangered, he may make a reasonable
search for weapons of Lhe person belleved by hlm Lo be armed and dangerous [392 u.S.
1, 3] regardless of wheLher he has probable cause Lo arresL LhaL lndlvldual for crlme or
Lhe absoluLe cerLalnLy LhaL Lhe lndlvldual ls armed. Þp. 20-27.
(a) 1hough Lhe pollce musL whenever pracLlcable secure a warranL Lo make a search and
selzure, LhaL procedure cannoL be followed where swlfL acLlon based upon on-Lhe-spoL
observaLlons of Lhe offlcer on Lhe beaL ls requlred. Þ. 20.
(b) 1he reasonableness of any parLlcular search and selzure musL be assessed ln llghL of
Lhe parLlcular clrcumsLances agalnsL Lhe sLandard of wheLher a man of reasonable
cauLlon ls warranLed ln bellevlng LhaL Lhe acLlon Laken was approprlaLe. Þp. 21-22.
(c) 1he offlcer here was performlng a leglLlmaLe funcLlon of lnvesLlgaLlng susplclous
conducL when he declded Lo approach peLlLloner and hls companlons. Þ. 22.
(d) An offlcer [usLlfled ln bellevlng LhaL an lndlvldual whose susplclous behavlor he ls
lnvesLlgaLlng aL close range ls armed may, Lo neuLrallze Lhe LhreaL of physlcal harm, Lake
necessary measures Lo deLermlne wheLher LhaL person ls carrylng a weapon. Þ. 24.
(e) A search for weapons ln Lhe absence of probable cause Lo arresL musL be sLrlcLly
clrcumscrlbed by Lhe exlgencles of Lhe slLuaLlon. Þp. 23-26.
(f) An offlcer may make an lnLruslon shorL of arresL where he has reasonable
apprehenslon of danger before belng possessed of lnformaLlon [usLlfylng arresL. Þp. 26-
6. 1he offlcer's proLecLlve selzure of peLlLloner and hls companlons and Lhe llmlLed
search whlch he made were reasonable, boLh aL Lhelr lncepLlon and as conducLed. Þp.
(a) 1he acLlons of peLlLloner and hls companlons were conslsLenL wlLh Lhe offlcer's
hypoLhesls LhaL Lhey were conLemplaLlng a dayllghL robbery and were armed. Þ. 28.
(b) 1he offlcer's search was conflned Lo whaL was mlnlmally necessary Lo deLermlne
wheLher Lhe men were armed, and Lhe lnLruslon, whlch was made for Lhe sole purpose
of proLecLlng hlmself and oLhers nearby, was conflned Lo ascerLalnlng Lhe presence of
weapons. Þp. 29-30.
7. 1he revolver selzed from peLlLloner was properly admlLLed lnLo evldence agalnsL hlm,
slnce Lhe search whlch led Lo lLs selzure was reasonable under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL.
Þp. 30-31.
Afflrmed. [392 u.S. 1, 4]
Louls SLokes argued Lhe cause for peLlLloner. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlef was !ack C. uay.
8euben M. Þayne argued Lhe cause for respondenL. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlef was !ohn 1.
8rlefs of amlcl curlae, urglng reversal, were flled by !ack Creenberg, !ames M. nabrlL lll,
Mlchael MelLsner, Melvyn Zarr, and AnLhony C. AmsLerdam for Lhe nAACÞ Legal
uefense and LducaLlonal lund, lnc., and by 8ernard A. 8erkman, Melvln L. Wulf, and
Alan P. Levlne for Lhe Amerlcan Clvll LlberLles unlon eL al.
8rlefs of amlcl curlae, urglng afflrmance, were flled by SollclLor Ceneral Crlswold,
AsslsLanL ALLorney Ceneral vlnson, 8alph S. SprlLzer, 8eaLrlce 8osenberg, and Mervyn
Pamburg for Lhe unlLed SLaLes, by Louls !. LefkowlLz, pro se, Samuel A. PlrshowlLz, llrsL
AsslsLanL ALLorney Ceneral, and Marla L. Marcus and 8renda Soloff, AsslsLanL ALLorneys
Ceneral, for Lhe ALLorney Ceneral of new ?ork, by Charles Moylan, !r., Lvelle !. ?ounger,
and Parry Wood for Lhe naLlonal ulsLrlcL ALLorneys' Assn., and by !ames 8. 1hompson
for Amerlcans for LffecLlve Law LnforcemenL.
M8. CPlLl !uS1lCL WA88Ln dellvered Lhe oplnlon of Lhe CourL.
1hls case presenLs serlous quesLlons concernlng Lhe role of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL ln
Lhe confronLaLlon on Lhe sLreeL beLween Lhe clLlzen and Lhe pollceman lnvesLlgaLlng
susplclous clrcumsLances.
ÞeLlLloner 1erry was convlcLed of carrylng a concealed weapon and senLenced Lo Lhe
sLaLuLorlly prescrlbed Lerm of one Lo Lhree years ln Lhe penlLenLlary. 1 lollowlng [392
u.S. 1, 3] Lhe denlal of a preLrlal moLlon Lo suppress, Lhe prosecuLlon lnLroduced ln
evldence Lwo revolvers and a number of bulleLs selzed from 1erry and a codefendanL,
8lchard ChllLon, 2 by Cleveland Þollce ueLecLlve MarLln Mcladden. AL Lhe hearlng on Lhe
moLlon Lo suppress Lhls evldence, Cfflcer Mcladden LesLlfled LhaL whlle he was
paLrolllng ln plaln cloLhes ln downLown Cleveland aL approxlmaLely 2:30 ln Lhe
afLernoon of CcLober 31, 1963, hls aLLenLlon was aLLracLed by Lwo men, ChllLon and
1erry, sLandlng on Lhe corner of Puron 8oad and Luclld Avenue. Pe had never seen Lhe
Lwo men before, and he was unable Lo say preclsely whaL flrsL drew hls eye Lo Lhem.
Powever, he LesLlfled LhaL he had been a pollceman for 39 years and a deLecLlve for 33
and LhaL he had been asslgned Lo paLrol Lhls vlclnlLy of downLown Cleveland for
shopllfLers and plckpockeLs for 30 years. Pe explalned LhaL he had developed rouLlne
hablLs of observaLlon over Lhe years and LhaL he would "sLand and waLch people or walk
and waLch people aL many lnLervals of Lhe day." Pe added: "now, ln Lhls case when l
looked over Lhey dldn'L look rlghL Lo me aL Lhe Llme."
Pls lnLeresL aroused, Cfflcer Mcladden Look up a posL of observaLlon ln Lhe enLrance Lo
a sLore 300 Lo 400 feeL[392 u.S. 1, 6] away from Lhe Lwo men. "l geL more purpose Lo
waLch Lhem when l seen Lhelr movemenLs," he LesLlfled. Pe saw one of Lhe men leave
Lhe oLher one and walk souLhwesL on Puron 8oad, pasL some sLores. 1he man paused
for a momenL and looked ln a sLore wlndow, Lhen walked on a shorL dlsLance, Lurned
around and walked back Loward Lhe corner, pauslng once agaln Lo look ln Lhe same
sLore wlndow. Pe re[olned hls companlon aL Lhe corner, and Lhe Lwo conferred brlefly.
1hen Lhe second man wenL Lhrough Lhe same serles of moLlons, sLrolllng down Puron
8oad, looklng ln Lhe same wlndow, walklng on a shorL dlsLance, Lurnlng back, peerlng ln
Lhe sLore wlndow agaln, and reLurnlng Lo confer wlLh Lhe flrsL man aL Lhe corner. 1he
Lwo men repeaLed Lhls rlLual alLernaLely beLween flve and slx Llmes aplece - ln all,
roughly a dozen Lrlps. AL one polnL, whlle Lhe Lwo were sLandlng LogeLher on Lhe corner,
a Lhlrd man approached Lhem and engaged Lhem brlefly ln conversaLlon. 1hls man Lhen
lefL Lhe Lwo oLhers and walked wesL on Luclld Avenue. ChllLon and 1erry resumed Lhelr
measured paclng, peerlng, and conferrlng. AfLer Lhls had gone on for 10 Lo 12 mlnuLes,
Lhe Lwo men walked off LogeLher, headlng wesL on Luclld Avenue, followlng Lhe paLh
Laken earller by Lhe Lhlrd man.
8y Lhls Llme Cfflcer Mcladden had become Lhoroughly susplclous. Pe LesLlfled LhaL afLer
observlng Lhelr elaboraLely casual and ofL-repeaLed reconnalssance of Lhe sLore wlndow
on Puron 8oad, he suspecLed Lhe Lwo men of "caslng a [ob, a sLlck-up," and LhaL he
consldered lL hls duLy as a pollce offlcer Lo lnvesLlgaLe furLher. Pe added LhaL he feared
"Lhey may have a gun." 1hus, Cfflcer Mcladden followed ChllLon and 1erry and saw
Lhem sLop ln fronL of Zucker's sLore Lo Lalk Lo Lhe same man who had conferred wlLh
Lhem earller on Lhe sLreeL corner. uecldlng LhaL Lhe slLuaLlon was rlpe for dlrecL acLlon.
Cfflcer Mcladden approached Lhe Lhree men, ldenLlfled[392 u.S. 1, 7] hlmself as a
pollce offlcer and asked for Lhelr names. AL Lhls polnL hls knowledge was conflned Lo
whaL he had observed. Pe was noL acqualnLed wlLh any of Lhe Lhree men by name or by
slghL, and he had recelved no lnformaLlon concernlng Lhem from any oLher source.
When Lhe men "mumbled someLhlng" ln response Lo hls lnqulrles, Cfflcer Mcladden
grabbed peLlLloner 1erry, spun hlm around so LhaL Lhey were faclng Lhe oLher Lwo, wlLh
1erry beLween Mcladden and Lhe oLhers, and paLLed down Lhe ouLslde of hls cloLhlng.
ln Lhe lefL breasL pockeL of 1erry's overcoaL Cfflcer Mcladden felL a plsLol. Pe reached
lnslde Lhe overcoaL pockeL, buL was unable Lo remove Lhe gun. AL Lhls polnL, keeplng
1erry beLween hlmself and Lhe oLhers, Lhe offlcer ordered all Lhree men Lo enLer
Zucker's sLore. As Lhey wenL ln, he removed 1erry's overcoaL compleLely, removed a .38-
callber revolver from Lhe pockeL and ordered all Lhree men Lo face Lhe wall wlLh Lhelr
hands ralsed. Cfflcer Mcladden proceeded Lo paL down Lhe ouLer cloLhlng of ChllLon
and Lhe Lhlrd man, kaLz. Pe dlscovered anoLher revolver ln Lhe ouLer pockeL of ChllLon's
overcoaL, buL no weapons were found on kaLz. 1he offlcer LesLlfled LhaL he only paLLed
Lhe men down Lo see wheLher Lhey had weapons, and LhaL he dld noL puL hls hands
beneaLh Lhe ouLer garmenLs of elLher 1erry or ChllLon unLll he felL Lhelr guns. So far as
appears from Lhe record, he never placed hls hands beneaLh kaLz' ouLer garmenLs.
Cfflcer Mcladden selzed ChllLon's gun, asked Lhe proprleLor of Lhe sLore Lo call a pollce
wagon, and Look all Lhree men Lo Lhe sLaLlon, where ChllLon and 1erry were formally
charged wlLh carrylng concealed weapons.
Cn Lhe moLlon Lo suppress Lhe guns Lhe prosecuLlon Look Lhe poslLlon LhaL Lhey had
been selzed followlng a search lncldenL Lo a lawful arresL. 1he Lrlal courL re[ecLed Lhls
Lheory, sLaLlng LhaL lL "would be sLreLchlng Lhe facLs beyond reasonable
comprehenslon" Lo flnd LhaL Cfflcer [392 u.S. 1, 8] Mcladden had had probable cause
Lo arresL Lhe men before he paLLed Lhem down for weapons. Powever, Lhe courL denled
Lhe defendanLs' moLlon on Lhe ground LhaL Cfflcer Mcladden, on Lhe basls of hls
experlence, "had reasonable cause Lo belleve . . . LhaL Lhe defendanLs were conducLlng
Lhemselves susplclously, and some lnLerrogaLlon should be made of Lhelr acLlon." Þurely
for hls own proLecLlon, Lhe courL held, Lhe offlcer had Lhe rlghL Lo paL down Lhe ouLer
cloLhlng of Lhese men, who he had reasonable cause Lo belleve mlghL be armed. 1he
courL dlsLlngulshed beLween an lnvesLlgaLory "sLop" and an arresL, and beLween a
"frlsk" of Lhe ouLer cloLhlng for weapons and a full-blown search for evldence of crlme.
1he frlsk, lL held, was essenLlal Lo Lhe proper performance of Lhe offlcer's lnvesLlgaLory
duLles, for wlLhouL lL "Lhe answer Lo Lhe pollce offlcer may be a bulleL, and a loaded
plsLol dlscovered durlng Lhe frlsk ls admlsslble."
AfLer Lhe courL denled Lhelr moLlon Lo suppress, ChllLon and 1erry walved [ury Lrlal and
pleaded noL gullLy. 1he courL ad[udged Lhem gullLy, and Lhe CourL of Appeals for Lhe
LlghLh !udlclal ulsLrlcL, Cuyahoga CounLy, afflrmed. SLaLe v. 1erry, 3 Chlo App. 2d 122,
214 n. L. 2d 114 (1966). 1he Supreme CourL of Chlo dlsmlssed Lhelr appeal on Lhe
ground LhaL no "subsLanLlal consLlLuLlonal quesLlon" was lnvolved. We granLed
cerLlorarl, 387 u.S. 929 (1967), Lo deLermlne wheLher Lhe admlsslon of Lhe revolvers ln
evldence vlolaLed peLlLloner's rlghLs under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, made appllcable Lo
Lhe SLaLes by Lhe lourLeenLh. Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643(1961). We afflrm Lhe
1he lourLh AmendmenL provldes LhaL "Lhe rlghL of Lhe people Lo be secure ln Lhelr
persons, houses, papers, and effecLs, agalnsL unreasonable searches and selzures, shall
noL be vlolaLed . . . ." 1hls lnesLlmable rlghL of [392 u.S. 1, 9] personal securlLy belongs
as much Lo Lhe clLlzen on Lhe sLreeLs of our clLles as Lo Lhe homeowner closeLed ln hls
sLudy Lo dlspose of hls secreL affalrs. lor, as Lhls CourL has always recognlzed,
"no rlghL ls held more sacred, or ls more carefully guarded, by Lhe common law, Lhan
Lhe rlghL of every lndlvldual Lo Lhe possesslon and conLrol of hls own person, free from
all resLralnL or lnLerference of oLhers, unless by clear and unquesLlonable auLhorlLy of
law." unlon Þac. 8. Co. v. 8oLsford, 141 u.S. 230, 231 (1891).
We have recenLly held LhaL "Lhe lourLh AmendmenL proLecLs people, noL places," kaLz
v. unlLed SLaLes, 389 u.S. 347, 331 (1967), and wherever an lndlvldual may harbor a
reasonable "expecLaLlon of prlvacy," ld., aL 361 (M8. !uS1lCL PA8LAn, concurrlng), he ls
enLlLled Lo be free from unreasonable governmenLal lnLruslon. Cf course, Lhe speclflc
conLenL and lncldenLs of Lhls rlghL musL be shaped by Lhe conLexL ln whlch lL ls asserLed.
lor "whaL Lhe ConsLlLuLlon forblds ls noL all searches and selzures, buL unreasonable
searches and selzures." Llklns v. unlLed SLaLes, 364 u.S. 206, 222 (1960). unquesLlonably
peLlLloner was enLlLled Lo Lhe proLecLlon of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL as he walked down
Lhe sLreeL ln Cleveland. 8eck v. Chlo, 379 u.S. 89 (1964), 8los v. unlLed SLaLes,364 u.S.
233 (1960), Penry v. unlLed SLaLes, 361 u.S. 98 (1939), unlLed SLaLes v. ul 8e, 332 u.S.
381 (1948), Carroll v. unlLed SLaLes, 267 u.S. 132 (1923). 1he quesLlon ls wheLher ln all
Lhe clrcumsLances of Lhls on-Lhe-sLreeL encounLer, hls rlghL Lo personal securlLy was
vlolaLed by an unreasonable search and selzure.
We would be less Lhan candld lf we dld noL acknowledge LhaL Lhls quesLlon LhrusLs Lo
Lhe fore dlfflculL and Lroublesome lssues regardlng a senslLlve area of pollce acLlvlLy -
lssues whlch have never before been squarely[392 u.S. 1, 10] presenLed Lo Lhls CourL.
8eflecLlve of Lhe Lenslons lnvolved are Lhe pracLlcal and consLlLuLlonal argumenLs
pressed wlLh greaL vlgor on boLh sldes of Lhe publlc debaLe over Lhe power of Lhe pollce
Lo "sLop and frlsk" - as lL ls someLlmes euphemlsLlcally Lermed - susplclous persons.
Cn Lhe one hand, lL ls frequenLly argued LhaL ln deallng wlLh Lhe rapldly unfoldlng and
ofLen dangerous slLuaLlons on clLy sLreeLs Lhe pollce are ln need of an escalaLlng seL of
flexlble responses, graduaLed ln relaLlon Lo Lhe amounL of lnformaLlon Lhey possess. lor
Lhls purpose lL ls urged LhaL dlsLlncLlons should be made beLween a "sLop" and an
"arresL" (or a "selzure" of a person), and beLween a "frlsk" and a "search." 3 1hus, lL ls
argued, Lhe pollce should be allowed Lo "sLop" a person and deLaln hlm brlefly for
quesLlonlng upon susplclon LhaL he may be connecLed wlLh crlmlnal acLlvlLy. upon
susplclon LhaL Lhe person may be armed, Lhe pollce should have Lhe power Lo "frlsk"
hlm for weapons. lf Lhe "sLop" and Lhe "frlsk" glve rlse Lo probable cause Lo belleve LhaL
Lhe suspecL has commlLLed a crlme, Lhen Lhe pollce should be empowered Lo make a
formal "arresL," and a full lncldenL "search" of Lhe person. 1hls scheme ls [usLlfled ln parL
upon Lhe noLlon LhaL a "sLop" and a "frlsk" amounL Lo a mere "mlnor lnconvenlence and
peLLy lndlgnlLy," 4 whlch can properly be lmposed upon Lhe [392 u.S. 1, 11] clLlzen ln
Lhe lnLeresL of effecLlve law enforcemenL on Lhe basls of a pollce offlcer's susplclon. 3
Cn Lhe oLher slde Lhe argumenL ls made LhaL Lhe auLhorlLy of Lhe pollce musL be sLrlcLly
clrcumscrlbed by Lhe law of arresL and search as lL has developed Lo daLe ln Lhe
LradlLlonal [urlsprudence of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. 6 lL ls conLended wlLh some force
LhaL Lhere ls noL - and cannoL be - a varleLy of pollce acLlvlLy whlch does noL depend
solely upon Lhe volunLary cooperaLlon of Lhe clLlzen and yeL whlch sLops shorL of an
arresL based upon probable cause Lo make such an arresL. 1he hearL of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL, Lhe argumenL runs, ls a severe requlremenL of speclflc [usLlflcaLlon for any
lnLruslon upon proLecLed personal securlLy, coupled wlLh a hlghly developed sysLem of
[udlclal conLrols Lo enforce upon Lhe agenLs of Lhe SLaLe Lhe commands of Lhe
ConsLlLuLlon. Acqulescence by Lhe courLs ln Lhe compulslon lnherenL [392 u.S. 1, 12] ln
Lhe fleld lnLerrogaLlon pracLlces aL lssue here, lL ls urged, would consLlLuLe an abdlcaLlon
of [udlclal conLrol over, and lndeed an encouragemenL of, subsLanLlal lnLerference wlLh
llberLy and personal securlLy by pollce offlcers whose [udgmenL ls necessarlly colored by
Lhelr prlmary lnvolvemenL ln "Lhe ofLen compeLlLlve enLerprlse of ferreLlng ouL crlme."
!ohnson v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 10, 14 (1948). 1hls, lL ls argued, can only serve Lo
exacerbaLe pollce-communlLy Lenslons ln Lhe crowded cenLers of our naLlon's clLles. 7
ln Lhls conLexL we approach Lhe lssues ln Lhls case mlndful of Lhe llmlLaLlons of Lhe
[udlclal funcLlon ln conLrolllng Lhe myrlad dally slLuaLlons ln whlch pollcemen and
clLlzens confronL each oLher on Lhe sLreeL. 1he SLaLe has characLerlzed Lhe lssue here as
"Lhe rlghL of a pollce offlcer . . . Lo make an on-Lhe-sLreeL sLop, lnLerrogaLe and paL down
for weapons (known ln sLreeL vernacular as `sLop and frlsk')." 8 8uL Lhls ls only parLly
accuraLe. lor Lhe lssue ls noL Lhe absLracL proprleLy of Lhe pollce conducL, buL Lhe
admlsslblllLy agalnsL peLlLloner of Lhe evldence uncovered by Lhe search and selzure.
Lver slnce lLs lncepLlon, Lhe rule excludlng evldence selzed ln vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL has been recognlzed as a prlnclpal mode of dlscouraglng lawless pollce
conducL. See Weeks v. unlLed SLaLes, 232 u.S. 383, 391 -393 (1914). 1hus lLs ma[or
LhrusL ls a deLerrenL one, see LlnkleLLer v. Walker, 381 u.S. 618, 629 -633 (1963), and
experlence has LaughL LhaL lL ls Lhe only effecLlve deLerrenL Lo pollce mlsconducL ln Lhe
crlmlnal conLexL, and LhaL wlLhouL lL Lhe consLlLuLlonal guaranLee agalnsL unreasonable
searches and selzures would be a mere "form of words." Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643,
633 (1961). 1he rule also serves anoLher vlLal funcLlon - "Lhe lmperaLlve of [udlclal
lnLegrlLy." Llklns [392 u.S. 1, 13] v. unlLed SLaLes, 364 u.S. 206, 222 (1960). CourLs
whlch slL under our ConsLlLuLlon cannoL and wlll noL be made parLy Lo lawless lnvaslons
of Lhe consLlLuLlonal rlghLs of clLlzens by permlLLlng unhlndered governmenLal use of Lhe
frulLs of such lnvaslons. 1hus ln our sysLem evldenLlary rullngs provlde Lhe conLexL ln
whlch Lhe [udlclal process of lncluslon and excluslon approves some conducL as
comporLlng wlLh consLlLuLlonal guaranLees and dlsapproves oLher acLlons by sLaLe
agenLs. A rullng admlLLlng evldence ln a crlmlnal Lrlal, we recognlze, has Lhe necessary
effecL of leglLlmlzlng Lhe conducL whlch produced Lhe evldence, whlle an appllcaLlon of
Lhe excluslonary rule wlLhholds Lhe consLlLuLlonal lmprlmaLur.
1he excluslonary rule has lLs llmlLaLlons, however, as a Lool of [udlclal conLrol. lL cannoL
properly be lnvoked Lo exclude Lhe producLs of leglLlmaLe pollce lnvesLlgaLlve
Lechnlques on Lhe ground LhaL much conducL whlch ls closely slmllar lnvolves
unwarranLed lnLruslons upon consLlLuLlonal proLecLlons. Moreover, ln some conLexLs
Lhe rule ls lneffecLlve as a deLerrenL. SLreeL encounLers beLween clLlzens and pollce
offlcers are lncredlbly rlch ln dlverslLy. 1hey range from wholly frlendly exchanges of
pleasanLrles or muLually useful lnformaLlon Lo hosLlle confronLaLlons of armed men
lnvolvlng arresLs, or ln[urles, or loss of llfe. Moreover, hosLlle confronLaLlons are noL all
of a plece. Some of Lhem begln ln a frlendly enough manner, only Lo Lake a dlfferenL
Lurn upon Lhe ln[ecLlon of some unexpecLed elemenL lnLo Lhe conversaLlon. LncounLers
are lnlLlaLed by Lhe pollce for a wlde varleLy of purposes, some of whlch are wholly
unrelaLed Lo a deslre Lo prosecuLe for crlme. 9 uoubLless some[392 u.S. 1, 14] pollce
"fleld lnLerrogaLlon" conducL vlolaLes Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. 8uL a sLern refusal by Lhls
CourL Lo condone such acLlvlLy does noL necessarlly render lL responslve Lo Lhe
excluslonary rule. 8egardless of how effecLlve Lhe rule may be where obLalnlng
convlcLlons ls an lmporLanL ob[ecLlve of Lhe pollce, 10 lL ls powerless Lo deLer lnvaslons
of consLlLuLlonally guaranLeed rlghLs where Lhe pollce elLher have no lnLeresL ln
prosecuLlng or are wllllng Lo forgo successful prosecuLlon ln Lhe lnLeresL of servlng some
oLher goal.
Þroper ad[udlcaLlon of cases ln whlch Lhe excluslonary rule ls lnvoked demands a
consLanL awareness of Lhese llmlLaLlons. 1he wholesale harassmenL by cerLaln elemenLs
of Lhe pollce communlLy, of whlch mlnorlLy groups, parLlcularly negroes, frequenLly
complaln, 11 wlll noL be [392 u.S. 1, 13] sLopped by Lhe excluslon of any evldence from
any crlmlnal Lrlal. ?eL a rlgld and unLhlnklng appllcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule, ln fuLlle
proLesL agalnsL pracLlces whlch lL can never be used effecLlvely Lo conLrol, may exacL a
hlgh Loll ln human ln[ury and frusLraLlon of efforLs Lo prevenL crlme. no [udlclal oplnlon
can comprehend Lhe proLean varleLy of Lhe sLreeL encounLer, and we can only [udge Lhe
facLs of Lhe case before us. noLhlng we say Loday ls Lo be Laken as lndlcaLlng approval of
pollce conducL ouLslde Lhe leglLlmaLe lnvesLlgaLlve sphere. under our declslon, courLs
sLlll reLaln Lhelr LradlLlonal responslblllLy Lo guard agalnsL pollce conducL whlch ls
overbearlng or harasslng, or whlch Lrenches upon personal securlLy wlLhouL Lhe
ob[ecLlve evldenLlary [usLlflcaLlon whlch Lhe ConsLlLuLlon requlres. When such conducL ls
ldenLlfled, lL musL be condemned by Lhe [udlclary and lLs frulLs musL be excluded from
evldence ln crlmlnal Lrlals. And, of course, our approval of leglLlmaLe and resLralned
lnvesLlgaLlve conducL underLaken on Lhe basls of ample facLual [usLlflcaLlon should ln no
way dlscourage Lhe employmenL of oLher remedles Lhan Lhe excluslonary rule Lo curLall
abuses for whlch LhaL sancLlon may prove lnapproprlaLe.
Pavlng Lhus roughly skeLched Lhe perlmeLers of Lhe consLlLuLlonal debaLe over Lhe llmlLs
on pollce lnvesLlgaLlve conducL ln general and Lhe background agalnsL whlch Lhls case
presenLs lLself, we Lurn our aLLenLlon Lo Lhe qulLe narrow quesLlon posed by Lhe facLs
before us: wheLher lL ls always unreasonable for a pollceman Lo selze a person and
sub[ecL hlm Lo a llmlLed search for weapons unless Lhere ls probable cause for an
arresL. [392 u.S. 1, 16] Clven Lhe narrowness of Lhls quesLlon, we have no occaslon Lo
canvass ln deLall Lhe consLlLuLlonal llmlLaLlons upon Lhe scope of a pollceman's power
when he confronLs a clLlzen wlLhouL probable cause Lo arresL hlm.
Cur flrsL Lask ls Lo esLabllsh aL whaL polnL ln Lhls encounLer Lhe lourLh AmendmenL
becomes relevanL. 1haL ls, we musL declde wheLher and when Cfflcer Mcladden
"selzed" 1erry and wheLher and when he conducLed a "search." 1here ls some
suggesLlon ln Lhe use of such Lerms as "sLop" and "frlsk" LhaL such pollce conducL ls
ouLslde Lhe purvlew of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL because nelLher acLlon rlses Lo Lhe level
of a "search" or "selzure" wlLhln Lhe meanlng of Lhe ConsLlLuLlon. 12 We emphaLlcally
re[ecL Lhls noLlon. lL ls qulLe plaln LhaL Lhe lourLh AmendmenL governs "selzures" of Lhe
person whlch do noL evenLuaLe ln a Lrlp Lo Lhe sLaLlon house and prosecuLlon for crlme -
"arresLs" ln LradlLlonal Lermlnology. lL musL be recognlzed LhaL whenever a pollce offlcer
accosLs an lndlvldual and resLralns hls freedom Lo walk away, he has "selzed" LhaL
person. And lL ls noLhlng less Lhan sheer LorLure of Lhe Lngllsh language Lo suggesL LhaL
a careful exploraLlon of Lhe ouLer surfaces of a person's cloLhlng all over hls or her body
ln an aLLempL Lo flnd weapons ls noL a "search." Moreover, lL ls slmply fanLasLlc Lo urge
LhaL such a procedure [392 u.S. 1, 17] performed ln publlc by a pollceman whlle Lhe
clLlzen sLands helpless, perhaps faclng a wall wlLh hls hands ralsed, ls a "peLLy
lndlgnlLy." 13 lL ls a serlous lnLruslon upon Lhe sancLlLy of Lhe person, whlch may lnfllcL
greaL lndlgnlLy and arouse sLrong resenLmenL, and lL ls noL Lo be underLaken llghLly. 14
1he danger ln Lhe loglc whlch proceeds upon dlsLlncLlons beLween a "sLop" and an
"arresL," or "selzure" of Lhe person, and beLween a "frlsk" and a "search" ls Lwo-fold. lL
seeks Lo lsolaLe from consLlLuLlonal scruLlny Lhe lnlLlal sLages of Lhe conLacL beLween Lhe
pollceman and Lhe clLlzen. And by suggesLlng a rlgld all-or-noLhlng model of [usLlflcaLlon
and regulaLlon under Lhe AmendmenL, lL obscures Lhe uLlllLy of llmlLaLlons upon Lhe
scope, as well as Lhe lnlLlaLlon, of pollce acLlon as a means of consLlLuLlonal
regulaLlon. 13 1hls CourL has held ln [392 u.S. 1, 18] Lhe pasL LhaL a search whlch ls
reasonable aL lLs lncepLlon may vlolaLe Lhe lourLh AmendmenL by vlrLue of lLs
lnLolerable lnLenslLy and scope. kremen v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 346 (1937), Co-8arL
lmporLlng Co. v. [392 u.S. 1, 19] unlLed SLaLes, 282 u.S. 344, 336 -338 (1931), see
unlLed SLaLes v. ul 8e, 332 u.S. 381, 386 -387 (1948). 1he scope of Lhe search musL be
"sLrlcLly Lled Lo and [usLlfled by" Lhe clrcumsLances whlch rendered lLs lnlLlaLlon
permlsslble. Warden v. Payden, 387 u.S. 294, 310 (1967) (M8. !uS1lCL lC81AS,
concurrlng), see, e. g., ÞresLon v. unlLed SLaLes, 376 u.S. 364, 367 -368 (1964), Agnello v.
unlLed SLaLes, 269 u.S. 20, 30 -31 (1923).
1he dlsLlncLlons of classlcal "sLop-and-frlsk" Lheory Lhus serve Lo dlverL aLLenLlon from
Lhe cenLral lnqulry under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL - Lhe reasonableness ln all Lhe
clrcumsLances of Lhe parLlcular governmenLal lnvaslon of a clLlzen's personal securlLy.
"Search" and "selzure" are noL Lallsmans. We Lherefore re[ecL Lhe noLlons LhaL Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL does noL come lnLo play aL all as a llmlLaLlon upon pollce conducL lf
Lhe offlcers sLop shorL of someLhlng called a "Lechnlcal arresL" or a "full-blown search."
ln Lhls case Lhere can be no quesLlon, Lhen, LhaL Cfflcer Mcladden "selzed" peLlLloner
and sub[ecLed hlm Lo a "search" when he Look hold of hlm and paLLed down Lhe ouLer
surfaces of hls cloLhlng. We musL declde wheLher aL LhaL polnL lL was reasonable for
Cfflcer Mcladden Lo have lnLerfered wlLh peLlLloner's personal securlLy as he
dld. 16 And ln deLermlnlng wheLher Lhe selzure and search were "unreasonable" our
lnqulry [392 u.S. 1, 20] ls a dual one - wheLher Lhe offlcer's acLlon was [usLlfled aL lLs
lncepLlon, and wheLher lL was reasonably relaLed ln scope Lo Lhe clrcumsLances whlch
[usLlfled Lhe lnLerference ln Lhe flrsL place.
lf Lhls case lnvolved pollce conducL sub[ecL Lo Lhe WarranL Clause of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL, we would have Lo ascerLaln wheLher "probable cause" exlsLed Lo [usLlfy
Lhe search and selzure whlch Look place. Powever, LhaL ls noL Lhe case. We do noL
reLreaL from our holdlngs LhaL Lhe pollce musL, whenever pracLlcable, obLaln advance
[udlclal approval of searches and selzures Lhrough Lhe warranL procedure, see, e. g., kaLz
v. unlLed SLaLes, 389 u.S. 347 (1967), 8eck v. Chlo, 379 u.S. 89, 96 (1964), Chapman v.
unlLed SLaLes, 363 u.S. 610 (1961), or LhaL ln mosL lnsLances fallure Lo comply wlLh Lhe
warranL requlremenL can only be excused by exlgenL clrcumsLances, see, e. g., Warden
v. Payden, 387 u.S. 294 (1967) (hoL pursulL), cf. ÞresLon v. unlLed SLaLes, 376 u.S. 364,
367-368 (1964). 8uL we deal here wlLh an enLlre rubrlc of pollce conducL - necessarlly
swlfL acLlon predlcaLed upon Lhe on-Lhe-spoL observaLlons of Lhe offlcer on Lhe beaL -
whlch hlsLorlcally has noL been, and as a pracLlcal maLLer could noL be, sub[ecLed Lo Lhe
warranL procedure. lnsLead, Lhe conducL lnvolved ln Lhls case musL be LesLed by Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL's general proscrlpLlon agalnsL unreasonable searches and
selzures. 17
noneLheless, Lhe noLlons whlch underlle boLh Lhe warranL procedure and Lhe
requlremenL of probable cause remaln fully relevanL ln Lhls conLexL. ln order Lo assess
Lhe reasonableness of Cfflcer Mcladden's conducL as a general proposlLlon, lL ls
necessary "flrsL Lo focus upon [392 u.S. 1, 21] Lhe governmenLal lnLeresL whlch
allegedly [usLlfles offlclal lnLruslon upon Lhe consLlLuLlonally proLecLed lnLeresLs of Lhe
prlvaLe clLlzen," for Lhere ls "no ready LesL for deLermlnlng reasonableness oLher Lhan by
balanclng Lhe need Lo search [or selze] agalnsL Lhe lnvaslon whlch Lhe search [or selzure]
enLalls." Camara v. Munlclpal CourL, 387 u.S. 323, 334 -333, 336-337 (1967). And ln
[usLlfylng Lhe parLlcular lnLruslon Lhe pollce offlcer musL be able Lo polnL Lo speclflc and
arLlculable facLs whlch, Laken LogeLher wlLh raLlonal lnferences from Lhose facLs,
reasonably warranL LhaL lnLruslon. 18 1he scheme of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL becomes
meanlngful only when lL ls assured LhaL aL some polnL Lhe conducL of Lhose charged wlLh
enforclng Lhe laws can be sub[ecLed Lo Lhe more deLached, neuLral scruLlny of a [udge
who musL evaluaLe Lhe reasonableness of a parLlcular search or selzure ln llghL of Lhe
parLlcular clrcumsLances. 19 And ln maklng LhaL assessmenL lL ls lmperaLlve LhaL Lhe
facLs be [udged agalnsL an ob[ecLlve sLandard: would Lhe facLs [392 u.S. 1, 22] avallable
Lo Lhe offlcer aL Lhe momenL of Lhe selzure or Lhe search "warranL a man of reasonable
cauLlon ln Lhe bellef" LhaL Lhe acLlon Laken was approprlaLe? Cf. Carroll v. unlLed
SLaLes, 267 u.S. 132 (1923), 8eck v. Chlo, 379 u.S. 89, 96 -97 (1964). 20 AnyLhlng less
would lnvlLe lnLruslons upon consLlLuLlonally guaranLeed rlghLs based on noLhlng more
subsLanLlal Lhan lnarLlculaLe hunches, a resulL Lhls CourL has conslsLenLly refused Lo
sancLlon. See, e. g., 8eck v. Chlo, supra, 8los v. unlLed SLaLes, 364 u.S. 233 (1960), Penry
v. unlLed SLaLes, 361 u.S. 98 (1939). And slmple "`good falLh on Lhe parL of Lhe arresLlng
offlcer ls noL enough.' . . . lf sub[ecLlve good falLh alone were Lhe LesL, Lhe proLecLlons of
Lhe lourLh AmendmenL would evaporaLe, and Lhe people would be `secure ln Lhelr
persons, houses, papers, and effecLs,' only ln Lhe dlscreLlon of Lhe pollce." 8eck v. Chlo,
supra, aL 97.
Applylng Lhese prlnclples Lo Lhls case, we conslder flrsL Lhe naLure and exLenL of Lhe
governmenLal lnLeresLs lnvolved. Cne general lnLeresL ls of course LhaL of effecLlve
crlme prevenLlon and deLecLlon, lL ls Lhls lnLeresL whlch underlles Lhe recognlLlon LhaL a
pollce offlcer may ln approprlaLe clrcumsLances and ln an approprlaLe manner approach
a person for purposes of lnvesLlgaLlng posslbly crlmlnal behavlor even Lhough Lhere ls
no probable cause Lo make an arresL. lL was Lhls leglLlmaLe lnvesLlgaLlve funcLlon Cfflcer
Mcladden was dlscharglng when he declded Lo approach peLlLloner and hls
companlons. Pe had observed 1erry, ChllLon, and kaLz go Lhrough a serles of acLs, each
of Lhem perhaps lnnocenL ln lLself, buL whlch Laken LogeLher warranLed furLher
lnvesLlgaLlon. 1here ls noLhlng unusual ln Lwo men sLandlng LogeLher on a sLreeL corner,
perhaps walLlng for someone. nor ls Lhere anyLhlng susplclous abouL people [392 u.S. 1,
23] ln such clrcumsLances sLrolllng up and down Lhe sLreeL, slngly or ln palrs. SLore
wlndows, moreover, are made Lo be looked ln. 8uL Lhe sLory ln qulLe dlfferenL where, as
here, Lwo men hover abouL a sLreeL corner for an exLended perlod of Llme, aL Lhe end of
whlch lL becomes apparenL LhaL Lhey are noL walLlng for anyone or anyLhlng, where
Lhese men pace alLernaLely along an ldenLlcal rouLe, pauslng Lo sLare ln Lhe same sLore
wlndow roughly 24 Llmes, where each compleLlon of Lhls rouLe ls followed lmmedlaLely
by a conference beLween Lhe Lwo men on Lhe corner, where Lhey are [olned ln one of
Lhese conferences by a Lhlrd man who leaves swlfLly, and where Lhe Lwo men flnally
follow Lhe Lhlrd and re[oln hlm a couple of blocks away. lL would have been poor pollce
work lndeed for an offlcer of 30 years' experlence ln Lhe deLecLlon of Lhlevery from
sLores ln Lhls same nelghborhood Lo have falled Lo lnvesLlgaLe Lhls behavlor furLher.
1he crux of Lhls case, however, ls noL Lhe proprleLy of Cfflcer Mcladden's Laklng sLeps Lo
lnvesLlgaLe peLlLloner's susplclous behavlor, buL raLher, wheLher Lhere was [usLlflcaLlon
for Mcladden's lnvaslon of 1erry's personal securlLy by searchlng hlm for weapons ln
Lhe course of LhaL lnvesLlgaLlon. We are now concerned wlLh more Lhan Lhe
governmenLal lnLeresL ln lnvesLlgaLlng crlme, ln addlLlon, Lhere ls Lhe more lmmedlaLe
lnLeresL of Lhe pollce offlcer ln Laklng sLeps Lo assure hlmself LhaL Lhe person wlLh whom
he ls deallng ls noL armed wlLh a weapon LhaL could unexpecLedly and faLally be used
agalnsL hlm. CerLalnly lL would be unreasonable Lo requlre LhaL pollce offlcers Lake
unnecessary rlsks ln Lhe performance of Lhelr duLles. Amerlcan crlmlnals have a long
LradlLlon of armed vlolence, and every year ln Lhls counLry many law enforcemenL
offlcers are kllled ln Lhe llne of duLy, and Lhousands more are wounded. [392 u.S. 1,
24] vlrLually all of Lhese deaLhs and a subsLanLlal porLlon of Lhe ln[urles are lnfllcLed
wlLh guns and knlves. 21
ln vlew of Lhese facLs, we cannoL bllnd ourselves Lo Lhe need for law enforcemenL
offlcers Lo proLecL Lhemselves and oLher prospecLlve vlcLlms of vlolence ln slLuaLlons
where Lhey may lack probable cause for an arresL. When an offlcer ls [usLlfled ln
bellevlng LhaL Lhe lndlvldual whose susplclous behavlor he ls lnvesLlgaLlng aL close range
ls armed and presenLly dangerous Lo Lhe offlcer or Lo oLhers, lL would appear Lo be
clearly unreasonable Lo deny Lhe offlcer Lhe power Lo Lake necessary measures Lo
deLermlne wheLher Lhe person ls ln facL carrylng a weapon and Lo neuLrallze Lhe LhreaL
of physlcal harm.
We musL sLlll conslder, however, Lhe naLure and quallLy of Lhe lnLruslon on lndlvldual
rlghLs whlch musL be accepLed lf pollce offlcers are Lo be conceded Lhe rlghL Lo search
for weapons ln slLuaLlons where probable cause Lo arresL for crlme ls lacklng. Lven a
llmlLed search of Lhe ouLer cloLhlng for weapons consLlLuLes a severe, [392 u.S. 1,
23] Lhough brlef, lnLruslon upon cherlshed personal securlLy, and lL musL surely be an
annoylng, frlghLenlng, and perhaps humlllaLlng experlence. ÞeLlLloner conLends LhaL
such an lnLruslon ls permlsslble only lncldenL Lo a lawful arresL, elLher for a crlme
lnvolvlng Lhe possesslon of weapons or for a crlme Lhe commlsslon of whlch led Lhe
offlcer Lo lnvesLlgaLe ln Lhe flrsL place. Powever, Lhls argumenL musL be closely
ÞeLlLloner does noL argue LhaL a pollce offlcer should refraln from maklng any
lnvesLlgaLlon of susplclous clrcumsLances unLll such Llme as he has probable cause Lo
make an arresL, nor does he deny LhaL pollce offlcers ln properly dlscharglng Lhelr
lnvesLlgaLlve funcLlon may flnd Lhemselves confronLlng persons who mlghL well be
armed and dangerous. Moreover, he does noL say LhaL an offlcer ls always un[usLlfled ln
searchlng a suspecL Lo dlscover weapons. 8aLher, he says lL ls unreasonable for Lhe
pollceman Lo Lake LhaL sLep unLll such Llme as Lhe slLuaLlon evolves Lo a polnL where
Lhere ls probable cause Lo make an arresL. When LhaL polnL has been reached,
peLlLloner would concede Lhe offlcer's rlghL Lo conducL a search of Lhe suspecL for
weapons, frulLs or lnsLrumenLallLles of Lhe crlme, or "mere" evldence, lncldenL Lo Lhe
1here are Lwo weaknesses ln Lhls llne of reasonlng, however. llrsL, lL falls Lo Lake
accounL of LradlLlonal llmlLaLlons upon Lhe scope of searches, and Lhus recognlzes no
dlsLlncLlon ln purpose, characLer, and exLenL beLween a search lncldenL Lo an arresL and
a llmlLed search for weapons. 1he former, alLhough [usLlfled ln parL by Lhe
acknowledged necesslLy Lo proLecL Lhe arresLlng offlcer from assaulL wlLh a concealed
weapon, ÞresLon v. unlLed SLaLes, 376 u.S. 364, 367 (1964), ls also [usLlfled on oLher
grounds, lbld., and can Lherefore lnvolve a relaLlvely exLenslve exploraLlon of Lhe
person. A search for weapons ln Lhe absence of probable cause Lo [392 u.S. 1,
26] arresL, however, musL, llke any oLher search, be sLrlcLly clrcumscrlbed by Lhe
exlgencles whlch [usLlfy lLs lnlLlaLlon. Warden v. Payden, 387 u.S. 294, 310 (1967) (M8.
!uS1lCL lC81AS, concurrlng). 1hus lL musL be llmlLed Lo LhaL whlch ls necessary for Lhe
dlscovery of weapons whlch mlghL be used Lo harm Lhe offlcer or oLhers nearby, and
may reallsLlcally be characLerlzed as someLhlng less Lhan a "full" search, even Lhough lL
remalns a serlous lnLruslon.
A second, and relaLed, ob[ecLlon Lo peLlLloner's argumenL ls LhaL lL assumes LhaL Lhe law
of arresL has already worked ouL Lhe balance beLween Lhe parLlcular lnLeresLs lnvolved
here - Lhe neuLrallzaLlon of danger Lo Lhe pollceman ln Lhe lnvesLlgaLlve clrcumsLance
and Lhe sancLlLy of Lhe lndlvldual. 8uL Lhls ls noL so. An arresL ls a wholly dlfferenL klnd
of lnLruslon upon lndlvldual freedom from a llmlLed search for weapons, and Lhe
lnLeresLs each ls deslgned Lo serve are llkewlse qulLe dlfferenL. An arresL ls Lhe lnlLlal
sLage of a crlmlnal prosecuLlon. lL ls lnLended Lo vlndlcaLe socleLy's lnLeresL ln havlng lLs
laws obeyed, and lL ls lnevlLably accompanled by fuLure lnLerference wlLh Lhe
lndlvldual's freedom of movemenL, wheLher or noL Lrlal or convlcLlon ulLlmaLely
follows. 221he proLecLlve search for weapons, on Lhe oLher hand, consLlLuLes a brlef,
Lhough far from lnconslderable, lnLruslon upon Lhe sancLlLy of Lhe person. lL does noL
follow LhaL because an offlcer may lawfully arresL a person only when he ls apprlsed of
facLs sufflclenL Lo warranL a bellef LhaL Lhe person has commlLLed or ls commlLLlng a
crlme, Lhe offlcer ls equally un[usLlfled, absenL LhaL klnd of evldence, ln maklng any
lnLruslons shorL of an arresL. Moreover, a perfecLly reasonable apprehenslon of danger
may arlse long before Lhe offlcer ls possessed of adequaLe lnformaLlon Lo [usLlfy Laklng a
person lnLo cusLody for [392 u.S. 1, 27] Lhe purpose of prosecuLlng hlm for a crlme.
ÞeLlLloner's rellance on cases whlch have worked ouL sLandards of reasonableness wlLh
regard Lo "selzures" consLlLuLlng arresLs and searches lncldenL LhereLo ls Lhus mlsplaced.
lL assumes LhaL Lhe lnLeresLs soughL Lo be vlndlcaLed and Lhe lnvaslons of personal
securlLy may be equaLed ln Lhe Lwo cases, and Lhereby lgnores a vlLal aspecL of Lhe
analysls of Lhe reasonableness of parLlcular Lypes of conducL under Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL. See Camara v. Munlclpal CourL, supra.
Cur evaluaLlon of Lhe proper balance LhaL has Lo be sLruck ln Lhls Lype of case leads us
Lo conclude LhaL Lhere musL be a narrowly drawn auLhorlLy Lo permlL a reasonable
search for weapons for Lhe proLecLlon of Lhe pollce offlcer, where he has reason Lo
belleve LhaL he ls deallng wlLh an armed and dangerous lndlvldual, regardless of
wheLher he has probable cause Lo arresL Lhe lndlvldual for a crlme. 1he offlcer need noL
be absoluLely cerLaln LhaL Lhe lndlvldual ls armed, Lhe lssue ls wheLher a reasonably
prudenL man ln Lhe clrcumsLances would be warranLed ln Lhe bellef LhaL hls safeLy or
LhaL of oLhers was ln danger. Cf. 8eck v. Chlo, 379 u.S. 89, 91 (1964), 8rlnegar v. unlLed
SLaLes, 338 u.S. 160, 174 -176 (1949), SLacey v. Lmery, 97 u.S. 642, 643 (1878). 23 And
ln deLermlnlng wheLher Lhe offlcer acLed reasonably ln such clrcumsLances, due welghL
musL be glven, noL Lo hls lnchoaLe and unparLlcularlzed susplclon or "hunch," buL Lo Lhe
speclflc reasonable lnferences whlch he ls enLlLled Lo draw from Lhe facLs ln llghL of hls
experlence. Cf. 8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes supra.
We musL now examlne Lhe conducL of Cfflcer Mcladden ln Lhls case Lo deLermlne
wheLher hls search and selzure of peLlLloner were reasonable, boLh aL Lhelr
lncepLlon [392 u.S. 1, 28] and as conducLed. Pe had observed 1erry, LogeLher wlLh
ChllLon and anoLher man, acLlng ln a manner he Look Lo be preface Lo a "sLlck-up." We
Lhlnk on Lhe facLs and clrcumsLances Cfflcer Mcladden deLalled before Lhe Lrlal [udge a
reasonably prudenL man would have been warranLed ln bellevlng peLlLloner was armed
and Lhus presenLed a LhreaL Lo Lhe offlcer's safeLy whlle he was lnvesLlgaLlng hls
susplclous behavlor. 1he acLlons of 1erry and ChllLon were conslsLenL wlLh Mcladden's
hypoLhesls LhaL Lhese men were conLemplaLlng a dayllghL robbery - whlch, lL ls
reasonable Lo assume, would be llkely Lo lnvolve Lhe use of weapons - and noLhlng ln
Lhelr conducL from Lhe Llme he flrsL noLlced Lhem unLll Lhe Llme he confronLed Lhem and
ldenLlfled hlmself as a pollce offlcer gave hlm sufflclenL reason Lo negaLe LhaL
hypoLhesls. AlLhough Lhe Lrlo had deparLed Lhe orlglnal scene, Lhere was noLhlng Lo
lndlcaLe abandonmenL of an lnLenL Lo commlL a robbery aL some polnL. 1hus, when
Cfflcer Mcladden approached Lhe Lhree men gaLhered before Lhe dlsplay wlndow aL
Zucker's sLore he had observed enough Lo make lL qulLe reasonable Lo fear LhaL Lhey
were armed, and noLhlng ln Lhelr response Lo hls halllng Lhem, ldenLlfylng hlmself as a
pollce offlcer, and asklng Lhelr names served Lo dlspel LhaL reasonable bellef. We cannoL
say hls declslon aL LhaL polnL Lo selze 1erry and paL hls cloLhlng for weapons was Lhe
producL of a volaLlle or lnvenLlve lmaglnaLlon, or was underLaken slmply as an acL of
harassmenL, Lhe record evldences Lhe Lempered acL of a pollceman who ln Lhe course of
an lnvesLlgaLlon had Lo make a qulck declslon as Lo how Lo proLecL hlmself and oLhers
from posslble danger, and Look llmlLed sLeps Lo do so.
1he manner ln whlch Lhe selzure and search were conducLed ls, of course, as vlLal a parL
of Lhe lnqulry as wheLher Lhey were warranLed aL all. 1he lourLh AmendmenL proceeds
as much by llmlLaLlons upon Lhe [392 u.S. 1, 29] scope of governmenLal acLlon as by
lmposlng precondlLlons upon lLs lnlLlaLlon. Compare kaLz v. unlLed SLaLes, 389 u.S. 347,
334 -336 (1967). 1he enLlre deLerrenL purpose of Lhe rule excludlng evldence selzed ln
vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL resLs on Lhe assumpLlon LhaL "llmlLaLlons upon Lhe
frulL Lo be gaLhered Lend Lo llmlL Lhe quesL lLself." unlLed SLaLes v. Þoller, 43 l.2d 911,
914 (C. A. 2d Clr. 1930), see, e. g., LlnkleLLer v. Walker, 381 u.S. 618, 629 -633 (1963),
Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643 (1961), Llklns v. unlLed SLaLes, 364 u.S. 206, 216 -221
(1960). 1hus, evldence may noL be lnLroduced lf lL was dlscovered by means of a selzure
and search whlch were noL reasonably relaLed ln scope Lo Lhe [usLlflcaLlon for Lhelr
lnlLlaLlon. Warden v. Payden,387 u.S. 294, 310 (1967) (M8. !uS1lCL lC81AS,
We need noL develop aL lengLh ln Lhls case, however, Lhe llmlLaLlons whlch Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL places upon a proLecLlve selzure and search for weapons. 1hese llmlLaLlons
wlll have Lo be developed ln Lhe concreLe facLual clrcumsLances of lndlvldual cases. See
Slbron v. new ?ork, posL, p. 40, declded Loday. Sufflce lL Lo noLe LhaL such a search,
unllke a search wlLhouL a warranL lncldenL Lo a lawful arresL, ls noL [usLlfled by any need
Lo prevenL Lhe dlsappearance or desLrucLlon of evldence of crlme. See ÞresLon v. unlLed
SLaLes, 376 u.S. 364, 367 (1964). 1he sole [usLlflcaLlon of Lhe search ln Lhe presenL
slLuaLlon ls Lhe proLecLlon of Lhe pollce offlcer and oLhers nearby, and lL musL Lherefore
be conflned ln scope Lo an lnLruslon reasonably deslgned Lo dlscover guns, knlves, clubs,
or oLher hldden lnsLrumenLs for Lhe assaulL of Lhe pollce offlcer.
1he scope of Lhe search ln Lhls case presenLs no serlous problem ln llghL of Lhese
sLandards. Cfflcer Mcladden paLLed down Lhe ouLer cloLhlng of peLlLloner and hls Lwo
companlons. Pe dld noL place hls hands ln Lhelr pockeLs or under Lhe ouLer surface of
Lhelr garmenLs unLll he had [392 u.S. 1, 30] felL weapons, and Lhen he merely reached
for and removed Lhe guns. Pe never dld lnvade kaLz' person beyond Lhe ouLer surfaces
of hls cloLhes, slnce he dlscovered noLhlng ln hls paL-down whlch mlghL have been a
weapon. Cfflcer Mcladden conflned hls search sLrlcLly Lo whaL was mlnlmally necessary
Lo learn wheLher Lhe men were armed and Lo dlsarm Lhem once he dlscovered Lhe
weapons. Pe dld noL conducL a general exploraLory search for whaLever evldence of
crlmlnal acLlvlLy he mlghL flnd.
We conclude LhaL Lhe revolver selzed from 1erry was properly admlLLed ln evldence
agalnsL hlm. AL Lhe Llme he selzed peLlLloner and searched hlm for weapons, Cfflcer
Mcladden had reasonable grounds Lo belleve LhaL peLlLloner was armed and dangerous,
and lL was necessary for Lhe proLecLlon of hlmself and oLhers Lo Lake swlfL measures Lo
dlscover Lhe Lrue facLs and neuLrallze Lhe LhreaL of harm lf lL maLerlallzed. 1he
pollceman carefully resLrlcLed hls search Lo whaL was approprlaLe Lo Lhe dlscovery of Lhe
parLlcular lLems whlch he soughL. Lach case of Lhls sorL wlll, of course, have Lo be
declded on lLs own facLs. We merely hold Loday LhaL where a pollce offlcer observes
unusual conducL whlch leads hlm reasonably Lo conclude ln llghL of hls experlence LhaL
crlmlnal acLlvlLy may be afooL and LhaL Lhe persons wlLh whom he ls deallng may be
armed and presenLly dangerous, where ln Lhe course of lnvesLlgaLlng Lhls behavlor he
ldenLlfles hlmself as a pollceman and makes reasonable lnqulrles, and where noLhlng ln
Lhe lnlLlal sLages of Lhe encounLer serves Lo dlspel hls reasonable fear for hls own or
oLhers' safeLy, he ls enLlLled for Lhe proLecLlon of hlmself and oLhers ln Lhe area Lo
conducL a carefully llmlLed search of Lhe ouLer cloLhlng of such persons ln an aLLempL Lo
dlscover weapons whlch mlghL be used Lo assaulL hlm. [392 u.S. 1, 31] Such a search ls
a reasonable search under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, and any weapons selzed may
properly be lnLroduced ln evldence agalnsL Lhe person from whom Lhey were Laken.
9#' !uS1lCL 8LACk concurs ln Lhe [udgmenL and Lhe oplnlon excepL where Lhe oplnlon
quoLes from and relles upon Lhls CourL's oplnlon ln kaLz v. unlLed SLaLes and Lhe
concurrlng oplnlon ln Warden v. Payden.
[ looLnoLe 1 ] Chlo 8ev. Code 2923.01 (1933) provldes ln parL LhaL "[n]o person shall
carry a plsLol, bowle knlfe, dlrk, or oLher dangerous weapon concealed on or abouL hls
person." An excepLlon ls made for properly auLhorlzed law enforcemenL offlcers.
[ looLnoLe 2 ] 1erry and ChllLon were arresLed, lndlcaLed, Lrled, and convlcLed LogeLher.
1hey were represenLed by Lhe same aLLorney, and Lhey made a [olnL moLlon Lo suppress
Lhe guns. AfLer Lhe moLlon was denled, evldence was Laken ln Lhe case agalnsL ChllLon.
1hls evldence conslsLed of Lhe LesLlmony of Lhe arresLlng offlcer and of ChllLon. lL was
Lhen sLlpulaLed LhaL Lhls LesLlmony would be applled Lo Lhe case agalnsL 1erry, and no
furLher evldence was lnLroduced ln LhaL case. 1he Lrlal [udge consldered Lhe Lwo cases
LogeLher, rendered Lhe declslons aL Lhe same Llme and senLenced Lhe Lwo men aL Lhe
same Llme. 1hey prosecuLed Lhelr sLaLe courL appeals LogeLher Lhrough Lhe same
aLLorney, and Lhey peLlLloned Lhls CourL for cerLlorarl LogeLher. lollowlng Lhe granL of
Lhe wrlL upon Lhls [olnL peLlLlon, ChllLon dled. 1hus, only 1erry's convlcLlon ls here for
[ looLnoLe 3 ] 8oLh Lhe Lrlal courL and Lhe Chlo CourL of Appeals ln Lhls case relled upon
such a dlsLlncLlon. SLaLe v. 1erry, 3 Chlo App. 2d 122, 123-130, 214 n. L. 2d 114, 117-120
(1966). See also, e. g., Þeople v. 8lvera, 14 n. ?. 2d 441, 201 n. L. 2d 32, 232 n. ?. S. 2d
438 (1964), cerL. denled, 379 u.S. 978 (1963), Aspen, ArresL and ArresL AlLernaLlves:
8ecenL 1rends, 1966 u. lll. L. l. 241, 249-234, Warner, 1he unlform ArresL AcL, 28 va. L.
8ev. 313 (1942), noLe, SLop and lrlsk ln Callfornla, 18 PasLlngs L. !. 623, 629-632 (1967).
[ looLnoLe 4 ] Þeople v. 8lvera, supra, n. 3, aL 447, 201 n. L. 2d, aL 36, 232 n. ?. S. 2d, aL
[ looLnoLe 3 ] 1he Lheory ls well lald ouL ln Lhe 8lvera oplnlon:
"[1]he evldence needed Lo make Lhe lnqulry ls noL of Lhe same degree of concluslveness
as LhaL requlred for an arresL. 1he sLopplng of Lhe lndlvldual Lo lnqulre ls noL an arresL
and Lhe ground upon whlch Lhe pollce may make Lhe lnqulry may be less lncrlmlnaLlng
Lhan Lhe ground for an arresL for a crlme known Lo have been commlLLed. . . .
. . . . .
"And as Lhe rlghL Lo sLop and lnqulre ls Lo be [usLlfled for a cause less concluslve Lhan
LhaL whlch would susLaln an arresL, so Lhe rlghL Lo frlsk may be [usLlfled as an lncldenL Lo
lnqulry upon grounds of elemenLal safeLy and precauLlon whlch mlghL noL lnlLlally
susLaln a search. ulLlmaLely Lhe valldlLy of Lhe frlsk narrows down Lo wheLher Lhere ls or
ls noL a rlghL by Lhe pollce Lo Louch Lhe person quesLloned. 1he sense of exLerlor Louch
here lnvolved ls noL very far dlfferenL from Lhe sense of slghL or hearlng - senses upon
whlch pollce cusLomarlly acL." Þeople v. 8lvera, 14 n. ?. 2d 441, 443, 447, 201 n. L. 2d
32, 34, 33, 232 n. ?. S. 2d 438, 461, 463 (1964), cerL. denled, 379 u.S. 978 (1963).
[ looLnoLe 6 ] See, e. g., looLe, 1he lourLh AmendmenL: CbsLacle or necesslLy ln Lhe
Law of ArresL?, 31 !. Crlm. L. C. & Þ. S. 402 (1960).
[ looLnoLe 7 ] See n. 11, lnfra.
[ looLnoLe 8 ] 8rlef for 8espondenL 2.
[ looLnoLe 9 ] See L. 1lffany, u. MclnLyre & u. 8oLenberg, ueLecLlon of Crlme: SLopplng
and CuesLlonlng, Search and Selzure, LncouragemenL and LnLrapmenL 18-36 (1967).
1hls sorL of pollce conducL may, for example, be deslgned slmply Lo help an lnLoxlcaLed
person flnd hls way home, wlLh no lnLenLlon of arresLlng hlm unless he becomes
obsLreperous. Cr Lhe pollce may be seeklng Lo medlaLe a domesLlc [392 u.S. 1,
14] quarrel whlch LhreaLens Lo erupL lnLo vlolence. 1hey may accosL a woman ln an area
known for prosLlLuLlon as parL of a harassmenL campalgn deslgned Lo drlve prosLlLuLes
away wlLhouL Lhe conslderable dlfflculLy lnvolved ln prosecuLlng Lhem. Cr Lhey may be
conducLlng a dragneL search of all Leenagers ln a parLlcular secLlon of Lhe clLy for
weapons because Lhey have heard rumors of an lmpendlng gang flghL.
[ looLnoLe 10 ] See 1lffany, MclnLyre & 8oLenberg, supra, n. 9, aL 100-101, CommenL, 47
nw. u. L. 8ev. 493, 497-499 (1932).
[ looLnoLe 11 ] 1he ÞresldenL's Commlsslon on Law LnforcemenL and AdmlnlsLraLlon of
!usLlce found LhaL "[l]n many communlLles, fleld lnLerrogaLlons are a ma[or source of
frlcLlon beLween Lhe pollce and mlnorlLy groups." ÞresldenL's Commlsslon on Law
LnforcemenL and AdmlnlsLraLlon of !usLlce, 1ask lorce 8eporL: 1he Þollce 183 (1967). lL
was reporLed LhaL Lhe frlcLlon caused by "[m]lsuse of fleld lnLerrogaLlons" lncreases "as
more pollce deparLmenLs adopL `aggresslve paLrol' ln whlch offlcers are encouraged
rouLlnely Lo sLop and quesLlon persons on Lhe sLreeL who are unknown Lo Lhem, who
are susplclous, or whose purpose for belng abroad ls noL readlly evldenL." ld., aL 184.
Whlle Lhe frequency wlLh whlch "frlsklng" forms a parL of fleld lnLerrogaLlon pracLlce
varles Lremendously wlLh Lhe locale, Lhe ob[ecLlve of Lhe lnLerrogaLlon, and Lhe
parLlcular offlcer, see 1lffany, MclnLyre & 8oLenberg, supra, n. 9, aL 47-48, lL cannoL help
buL be a severely exacerbaLlng facLor ln pollce-communlLy Lenslons. [392 u.S. 1,
13] 1hls ls parLlcularly Lrue ln slLuaLlons where Lhe "sLop and frlsk" of youLhs or
mlnorlLy group members ls "moLlvaLed by Lhe offlcers' percelved need Lo malnLaln Lhe
power lmage of Lhe beaL offlcer, an alm someLlmes accompllshed by humlllaLlng anyone
who aLLempLs Lo undermlne pollce conLrol of Lhe sLreeLs." lbld.
[ looLnoLe 12 ] ln Lhls case, for example, Lhe Chlo CourL of Appeals sLaLed LhaL "we musL
be careful Lo dlsLlngulsh LhaL Lhe `frlsk' auLhorlzed hereln lncludes only a `frlsk' for a
dangerous weapon. lL by no means auLhorlzes a search for conLraband, evldenLlary
maLerlal, or anyLhlng else ln Lhe absence of reasonable grounds Lo arresL. Such a search
ls conLrolled by Lhe requlremenLs of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, and probable cause ls
essenLlal." SLaLe v. 1erry, 3 Chlo App. 2d 122, 130, 214 n. L. 2d 114, 120 (1966). See
also, e. g., Lllls v. unlLed SLaLes, 103 u.S. App. u.C. 86, 88, 264 l.2d 372, 374 (1939),
CommenL, 63 Col. L. 8ev. 848, 860, and n. 81 (1963).
[ looLnoLe 13 ] Conslder Lhe followlng apL descrlpLlon:
"[1]he offlcer musL feel wlLh senslLlve flngers every porLlon of Lhe prlsoner's body. A
Lhorough search musL be made of Lhe prlsoner's arms and armplLs, walsLllne and back,
Lhe groln and area abouL Lhe LesLlcles, and enLlre surface of Lhe legs down Lo Lhe feeL."
Þrlar & MarLln, Searchlng and ulsarmlng Crlmlnals, 43 !. Crlm. L. C. & Þ. S. 481 (1934).
[ looLnoLe 14 ] See n. 11, supra, and accompanylng LexL.
We have noLed LhaL Lhe abuslve pracLlces whlch play a ma[or, Lhough by no means
excluslve, role ln creaLlng Lhls frlcLlon are noL suscepLlble of conLrol by means of Lhe
excluslonary rule, and cannoL properly dlcLaLe our declslon wlLh respecL Lo Lhe powers
of Lhe pollce ln genulne lnvesLlgaLlve and prevenLlve slLuaLlons. Powever, Lhe degree of
communlLy resenLmenL aroused by parLlcular pracLlces ls clearly relevanL Lo an
assessmenL of Lhe quallLy of Lhe lnLruslon upon reasonable expecLaLlons of personal
securlLy caused by Lhose pracLlces.
[ looLnoLe 13 ] 1hese dangers are lllusLraLed ln parL by Lhe course of ad[udlcaLlon ln Lhe
CourL of Appeals of new ?ork. AlLhough lLs flrsL declslon ln Lhls area, Þeople v. 8lvera, 14
n. ?. 2d 441, 201 n. L. 2d 32, 232 n. ?. S. 2d 438 (1964), cerL. denled, 379 u.S.
978 (1963), resLed squarely on Lhe noLlon LhaL a "frlsk" was noL a "search," see nn. 3-3,
supra, lL was compelled Lo recognlze ln Þeople v. 1aggarL, [392 u.S. 1, 18] 20 n. ?. 2d
333, 342, 229 n. L. 2d 381, 386, 283 n. ?. S. 2d 1, 8 (1967), LhaL whaL lL had acLually
auLhorlzed ln 8lvera and subsequenL declslons, see, e. g., Þeople v. Þugach, 13 n. ?. 2d
63, 204 n. L. 2d 176, 233 n. ?. S. 2d 833 (1964), cerL. denled,380 u.S. 936 (1963), was a
"search" upon less Lhan probable cause. Powever, ln acknowledglng LhaL no valld
dlsLlncLlon could be malnLalned on Lhe basls of lLs cases, Lhe CourL of Appeals conLlnued
Lo dlsLlngulsh beLween Lhe Lwo ln Lheory. lL sLlll deflned "search" as lL had ln 8lvera - as
an essenLlally unllmlLed examlnaLlon of Lhe person for any and all selzable lLems - and
merely noLed LhaL Lhe cases had upheld pollce lnLruslons whlch wenL far beyond Lhe
orlglnal llmlLed concepLlon of a "frlsk." 1hus, prlnclpally because lL falled Lo conslder
llmlLaLlons upon Lhe scope of searches ln lndlvldual cases as a poLenLlal mode of
regulaLlon, Lhe CourL of Appeals ln Lhree shorL years arrlved aL Lhe poslLlon LhaL Lhe
ConsLlLuLlon musL, ln Lhe name of necesslLy, be held Lo permlL unresLralned rummaglng
abouL a person and hls effecLs upon mere susplclon. lL dld apparenLly llmlL lLs holdlng Lo
"cases lnvolvlng serlous personal ln[ury or grave lrreparable properLy damage," Lhus
excludlng Lhose lnvolvlng "Lhe enforcemenL of sumpLuary laws, such as gambllng, and
laws of llmlLed publlc consequence, such as narcoLlcs vlolaLlons, prosLlLuLlon, larcenles
of Lhe ordlnary klnd, and Lhe llke." Þeople v. 1aggarL, supra, aL 340, 214 n. L. 2d, aL 384,
283 n. ?. S. 2d, aL 6.
ln our vlew Lhe sounder course ls Lo recognlze LhaL Lhe lourLh AmendmenL governs all
lnLruslons by agenLs of Lhe publlc upon personal securlLy, and Lo make Lhe scope of Lhe
parLlcular lnLruslon, ln llghL of all Lhe exlgencles of Lhe case, a cenLral elemenL ln Lhe
analysls of reasonableness. Cf. 8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 160, 183(1949) (Mr.
!usLlce !ackson, dlssenLlng). Compare Camara v. Munlclpal CourL, 387 u.S. 323,
337 (1967). 1hls seems preferable Lo an approach whlch aLLrlbuLes Loo much
slgnlflcance Lo an overly Lechnlcal deflnlLlon of "search," and whlch Lurns ln parL upon a
[udge-made hlerarchy of leglslaLlve enacLmenLs ln Lhe crlmlnal sphere. locuslng Lhe
lnqulry squarely on Lhe dangers and demands of Lhe parLlcular slLuaLlon also seems
more llkely Lo produce rules whlch are lnLelllglble Lo Lhe pollce and Lhe publlc allke Lhan
requlrlng Lhe offlcer ln Lhe heaL of an unfoldlng encounLer on Lhe sLreeL Lo make a
[udgmenL as Lo whlch laws are "of llmlLed publlc consequence."
[ looLnoLe 16 ] We Lhus declde noLhlng Loday concernlng Lhe consLlLuLlonal proprleLy of
an lnvesLlgaLlve "selzure" upon less Lhan probable cause for purposes of "deLenLlon"
and/or lnLerrogaLlon. Cbvlously, noL all personal lnLercourse beLween pollcemen and
clLlzens lnvolves "selzures" of persons. Cnly when Lhe offlcer, by means of physlcal force
or show of auLhorlLy, has ln some way resLralned Lhe llberLy of a clLlzen may we
conclude LhaL a "selzure" has occurred. We cannoL Lell wlLh any cerLalnLy upon Lhls
record wheLher any such "selzure" Look place here prlor Lo Cfflcer Mcladden's lnlLlaLlon
of physlcal conLacL for purposes of searchlng 1erry for weapons, and we Lhus may
assume LhaL up Lo LhaL polnL no lnLruslon upon consLlLuLlonally proLecLed rlghLs had
[ looLnoLe 17 ] See generally Leagre, 1he lourLh AmendmenL and Lhe Law of ArresL, 34
!. Crlm. L. C. & Þ. S. 393, 396-403 (1963).
[ looLnoLe 18 ] 1hls demand for speclflclLy ln Lhe lnformaLlon upon whlch pollce acLlon ls
predlcaLed ls Lhe cenLral Leachlng of Lhls CourL's lourLh AmendmenL [urlsprudence. See
8eck v. Chlo, 379 u.S. 89, 96 -97 (1964), ker v. Callfornla, 374 u.S. 23, 34 -37 (1963),
Wong Sun v. unlLed SLaLes, 371 u.S. 471, 479 -484 (1963), 8los v. unlLed SLaLes, 364 u.S.
233, 261 -262 (1960), Penry v. unlLed SLaLes, 361 u.S. 98, 100 -102 (1939), uraper v.
unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 307, 312 -314 (1939), 8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 160,
173 -178 (1949), !ohnson v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 10, 13 -17 (1948), unlLed SLaLes v. ul
8e, 332 u.S. 381, 393 -393 (1948), PusLy v. unlLed SLaLes, 282 u.S. 694, 700 -701 (1931),
uumbra v. unlLed SLaLes, 268 u.S. 433, 441 (1923), Carroll v. unlLed SLaLes, 267 u.S.
132, 139 -162 (1923), SLacey v. Lmery, 97 u.S. 642, 643 (1878).
[ looLnoLe 19 ] See, e. g., kaLz v. unlLed SLaLes, 389 u.S. 347, 334 -337 (1967), 8erger v.
new ?ork, 388 u.S. 41, 34 -60 (1967), !ohnson v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 10, 13 -13
(1948), cf. Wong Sun v. unlLed SLaLes, 371 u.S. 471, 479 -480 (1963). See also Agullar v.
1exas, 378 u.S. 108, 110 -113 (1964).
[ looLnoLe 20 ] See also cases clLed ln n. 18, supra.
[ looLnoLe 21 ] llfLy-seven law enforcemenL offlcers were kllled ln Lhe llne of duLy ln Lhls
counLry ln 1966, brlnglng Lhe LoLal Lo 333 for Lhe seven-year perlod beglnnlng wlLh
1960. Also ln 1966, Lhere were 23,831 assaulLs on pollce offlcers, 9,113 of whlch
resulLed ln ln[urles Lo Lhe pollcemen. llfLy-flve of Lhe 37 offlcers kllled ln 1966 dled from
gunshoL wounds, 41 of Lhem lnfllcLed by handguns easlly secreLed abouL Lhe person.
1he remalnlng Lwo murders were perpeLraLed by knlves. See lederal 8ureau of
lnvesLlgaLlon, unlform Crlme 8eporLs for Lhe unlLed SLaLes - 1966, aL 43-48, 132 and
1able 31.
1he easy avallablllLy of flrearms Lo poLenLlal crlmlnals ln Lhls counLry ls well known and
has provoked much debaLe. See, e. g., ÞresldenL's Commlsslon on Law LnforcemenL and
AdmlnlsLraLlon of !usLlce, 1he Challenge of Crlme ln a lree SocleLy 239-243 (1967).
WhaLever Lhe merlLs of gun-conLrol proposals, Lhls facL ls relevanL Lo an assessmenL of
Lhe need for some form of self-proLecLlve search power.
[ looLnoLe 22 ] See generally W. Lalave, ArresL - 1he ueclslon Lo 1ake a SuspecL lnLo
CusLody 1-13 (1963).
[ looLnoLe 23 ] See also cases clLed ln n. 18, supra.
M8. !uS1lCL PA8LAn, concurrlng.
Whlle l unreservedly agree wlLh Lhe CourL's ulLlmaLe holdlng ln Lhls case, l am
consLralned Lo flll ln a few gaps, as l see Lhem, ln lLs oplnlon. l do Lhls because whaL ls
sald by Lhls CourL Loday wlll serve as lnlLlal guldellnes for law enforcemenL auLhorlLles
and courLs LhroughouL Lhe land as Lhls lmporLanL new fleld of law develops.
A pollce offlcer's rlghL Lo make an on-Lhe-sLreeL "sLop" and an accompanylng "frlsk" for
weapons ls of course bounded by Lhe proLecLlons afforded by Lhe lourLh and
lourLeenLh AmendmenLs. 1he CourL holds, and l agree, LhaL whlle Lhe rlghL does noL
depend upon possesslon by Lhe offlcer of a valld warranL, nor upon Lhe exlsLence of
probable cause, such acLlvlLles musL be reasonable under Lhe clrcumsLances as Lhe
offlcer credlbly relaLes Lhem ln courL. Slnce Lhe quesLlon ln Lhls and mosL cases ls
wheLher evldence produced by a frlsk ls admlsslble, Lhe problem ls Lo deLermlne whaL
makes a frlsk reasonable.
lf Lhe SLaLe of Chlo were Lo provlde LhaL pollce offlcers could, on arLlculable susplclon
less Lhan probable cause, forclbly frlsk and dlsarm persons LhoughL Lo be carrylng
concealed weapons, l would have llLLle doubL LhaL acLlon Laken pursuanL Lo such
auLhorlLy could be consLlLuLlonally reasonable. Concealed weapons creaLe an
lmmedlaLe [392 u.S. 1, 32] and severe danger Lo Lhe publlc, and Lhough LhaL danger
mlghL noL warranL rouLlne general weapons checks, lL could well warranL acLlon on less
Lhan a "probablllLy." l menLlon Lhls llne of analysls because l Lhlnk lL vlLal Lo polnL ouL
LhaL lL cannoL be applled ln Lhls case. Cn Lhe record before us Chlo has noL cloLhed lLs
pollcemen wlLh rouLlne auLhorlLy Lo frlsk and dlsarm on susplclon, ln Lhe absence of
sLaLe auLhorlLy, pollcemen have no more rlghL Lo "paL down" Lhe ouLer cloLhlng of
passers-by, or of persons Lo whom Lhey address casual quesLlons, Lhan does any oLher
clLlzen. ConsequenLly, Lhe Chlo courLs dld noL resL Lhe consLlLuLlonallLy of Lhls frlsk upon
any general auLhorlLy ln Cfflcer Mcladden Lo Lake reasonable sLeps Lo proLecL Lhe
clLlzenry, lncludlng hlmself, from dangerous weapons.
1he sLaLe courLs held, lnsLead, LhaL when an offlcer ls lawfully confronLlng a posslbly
hosLlle person ln Lhe llne of duLy he has a rlghL, sprlnglng only from Lhe necesslLy of Lhe
slLuaLlon and noL from any broader rlghL Lo dlsarm, Lo frlsk for hls own proLecLlon. 1hls
holdlng, wlLh whlch l agree and wlLh whlch l Lhlnk Lhe CourL agrees, offers Lhe only
saLlsfacLory basls l can Lhlnk of for afflrmlng Lhls convlcLlon. 1he holdlng has, however,
Lwo loglcal corollarles LhaL l do noL Lhlnk Lhe CourL has fully expressed.
ln Lhe flrsL place, lf Lhe frlsk ls [usLlfled ln order Lo proLecL Lhe offlcer durlng an
encounLer wlLh a clLlzen, Lhe offlcer musL flrsL have consLlLuLlonal grounds Lo lnslsL on
an encounLer, Lo make a forclble sLop. Any person, lncludlng a pollceman, ls aL llberLy Lo
avold a person he conslders dangerous. lf and when a pollceman has a rlghL lnsLead Lo
dlsarm such a person for hls own proLecLlon, he musL flrsL have a rlghL noL Lo avold hlm
buL Lo be ln hls presence. 1haL rlghL musL be more Lhan Lhe llberLy (agaln, possessed by
every clLlzen) Lo address quesLlons Lo oLher persons, for ordlnarlly Lhe person [392 u.S.
1, 33] addressed has an equal rlghL Lo lgnore hls lnLerrogaLor and walk away, he
cerLalnly need noL submlL Lo a frlsk for Lhe quesLloner's proLecLlon. l would make lL
perfecLly clear LhaL Lhe rlghL Lo frlsk ln Lhls case depends upon Lhe reasonableness of a
forclble sLop Lo lnvesLlgaLe a suspecLed crlme.
Where such a sLop ls reasonable, however, Lhe rlghL Lo frlsk musL be lmmedlaLe and
auLomaLlc lf Lhe reason for Lhe sLop ls, as here, an arLlculable susplclon of a crlme of
vlolence. !usL as a full search lncldenL Lo a lawful arresL requlres no addlLlonal
[usLlflcaLlon, a llmlLed frlsk lncldenL Lo a lawful sLop musL ofLen be rapld and rouLlne.
1here ls no reason why an offlcer, rlghLfully buL forclbly confronLlng a person suspecLed
of a serlous crlme, should have Lo ask one quesLlon and Lake Lhe rlsk LhaL Lhe answer
mlghL be a bulleL.
1he facLs of Lhls case are lllusLraLlve of a proper sLop and an lncldenL frlsk. Cfflcer
Mcladden had no probable cause Lo arresL 1erry for anyLhlng, buL he had observed
clrcumsLances LhaL would reasonably lead an experlenced, prudenL pollceman Lo
suspecL LhaL 1erry was abouL Lo engage ln burglary or robbery. Pls [usLlflable susplclon
afforded a proper consLlLuLlonal basls for accosLlng 1erry, resLralnlng hls llberLy of
movemenL brlefly, and addresslng quesLlons Lo hlm, and Cfflcer Mcladden dld so. When
he dld, he had no reason whaLever Lo suppose LhaL 1erry mlghL be armed, aparL from
Lhe facL LhaL he suspecLed hlm of plannlng a vlolenL crlme. Mcladden asked 1erry hls
name, Lo whlch 1erry "mumbled someLhlng." Whereupon Mcladden, wlLhouL asklng
1erry Lo speak louder and wlLhouL glvlng hlm any chance Lo explaln hls presence or hls
acLlons, forclbly frlsked hlm.
l would afflrm Lhls convlcLlon for whaL l belleve Lo be Lhe same reasons Lhe CourL relles
on. l would, however, make expllclL whaL l Lhlnk ls lmpllclL ln afflrmance on [392 u.S. 1,
34] Lhe presenL facLs. Cfflcer Mcladden's rlghL Lo lnLerrupL 1erry's freedom of
movemenL and lnvade hls prlvacy arose only because clrcumsLances warranLed forclng
an encounLer wlLh 1erry ln an efforL Lo prevenL or lnvesLlgaLe a crlme. Cnce LhaL forced
encounLer was [usLlfled, however, Lhe offlcer's rlghL Lo Lake sulLable measures for hls
own safeLy followed auLomaLlcally.
upon Lhe foregolng premlses, l [oln Lhe oplnlon of Lhe CourL.
M8. !uS1lCL WPl1L, concurrlng.
l [oln Lhe oplnlon of Lhe CourL, reservlng [udgmenL, however, on some of Lhe CourL's
general remarks abouL Lhe scope and purpose of Lhe excluslonary rule whlch Lhe CourL
has fashloned ln Lhe process of enforclng Lhe lourLh AmendmenL.
Also, alLhough Lhe CourL puLs Lhe maLLer aslde ln Lhe conLexL of Lhls case, l Lhlnk an
addlLlonal word ls ln order concernlng Lhe maLLer of lnLerrogaLlon durlng an
lnvesLlgaLlve sLop. 1here ls noLhlng ln Lhe ConsLlLuLlon whlch prevenLs a pollceman from
addresslng quesLlons Lo anyone on Lhe sLreeLs. AbsenL speclal clrcumsLances, Lhe person
approached may noL be deLalned or frlsked buL may refuse Lo cooperaLe and go on hls
way. Powever, glven Lhe proper clrcumsLances, such as Lhose ln Lhls case, lL seems Lo
me Lhe person may be brlefly deLalned agalnsL hls wlll whlle perLlnenL quesLlons are
dlrecLed Lo hlm. Cf course, Lhe person sLopped ls noL obllged Lo answer, answers may
noL be compelled, and refusal Lo answer furnlshes no basls for an arresL, alLhough lL may
alerL Lhe offlcer Lo Lhe need for conLlnued observaLlon. ln my vlew, lL ls Lemporary
deLenLlon, warranLed by Lhe clrcumsLances, whlch chlefly [usLlfles Lhe proLecLlve frlsk
for weapons. Þerhaps Lhe frlsk lLself, where proper, wlll have beneflclal resulLs wheLher
quesLlons are asked or noL. lf weapons are found, an arresL wlll follow. [392 u.S. 1,
33] lf none are found, Lhe frlsk may neverLheless serve prevenLlve ends because of lLs
unmlsLakable message LhaL susplclon has been aroused. 8uL lf Lhe lnvesLlgaLlve sLop ls
susLalnable aL all, consLlLuLlonal rlghLs are noL necessarlly vlolaLed lf perLlnenL quesLlons
are asked and Lhe person ls resLralned brlefly ln Lhe process.
M8. !uS1lCL uCuCLAS, dlssenLlng.
l agree LhaL peLlLloner was "selzed" wlLhln Lhe meanlng of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. l also
agree LhaL frlsklng peLlLloner and hls companlons for guns was a "search." 8uL lL ls a
mysLery how LhaL "search" and LhaL "selzure" can be consLlLuLlonal by lourLh
AmendmenL sLandards, unless Lhere was "probable cause" 1 Lo belleve LhaL (1) a crlme
had been commlLLed or (2) a crlme was ln Lhe process of belng commlLLed or (3) a crlme
was abouL Lo be commlLLed.
1he oplnlon of Lhe CourL dlsclalms Lhe exlsLence of "probable cause." lf lolLerlng were ln
lssue and LhaL [392 u.S. 1, 36] was Lhe offense charged, Lhere would be "probable
cause" shown. 8uL Lhe crlme here ls carrylng concealed weapons, 2 and Lhere ls no basls
for concludlng LhaL Lhe offlcer had "probable cause" for bellevlng LhaL LhaL crlme was
belng commlLLed. Pad a warranL been soughL, a maglsLraLe would, Lherefore, have been
unauLhorlzed Lo lssue one, for he can acL only lf Lhere ls a showlng of "probable cause."
We hold Loday LhaL Lhe pollce have greaLer auLhorlLy Lo make a "selzure" and conducL a
"search" Lhan a [udge has Lo auLhorlze such acLlon. We have sald preclsely Lhe opposlLe
over and over agaln. 3 [392 u.S. 1, 37]
ln oLher words, pollce offlcers up Lo Loday have been permlLLed Lo effecL arresLs or
searches wlLhouL warranLs only when Lhe facLs wlLhln Lhelr personal knowledge would
saLlsfy Lhe consLlLuLlonal sLandard of probable cause. AL Lhe Llme of Lhelr "selzure"
wlLhouL a warranL Lhey musL possess facLs concernlng Lhe person arresLed LhaL would
have saLlsfled a maglsLraLe LhaL "probable cause" was lndeed presenL. 1he Lerm
"probable cause" rlngs a bell of cerLalnLy LhaL ls noL sounded by phrases such as
"reasonable susplclon." Moreover, Lhe meanlng of "probable cause" ls deeply lmbedded
ln our consLlLuLlonal hlsLory. As we sLaLed ln Penry v. unlLed SLaLes, 361 u.S. 98, 100 -
"1he requlremenL of probable cause has rooLs LhaL are deep ln our hlsLory. 1he general
warranL, ln whlch Lhe name of Lhe person Lo be arresLed was lefL blank, and Lhe wrlLs of
asslsLance, agalnsL whlch !ames CLls lnvelghed, boLh perpeLuaLed Lhe oppresslve
pracLlce of allowlng Lhe pollce Lo arresL and search on susplclon. Þollce conLrol Look Lhe
place of [udlclal conLrol, slnce no showlng of `probable cause' before a maglsLraLe was
. . . . .
"1haL phllosophy [rebelllng agalnsL Lhese pracLlces] laLer was reflecLed ln Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL. And as Lhe early Amerlcan declslons boLh before and lmmedlaLely afLer lLs
adopLlon show, common rumor or reporL, susplclon, or even `sLrong reason Lo suspecL'
was noL adequaLe Lo supporL a warranL [392 u.S. 1, 38] for arresL. And LhaL prlnclple
has survlved Lo Lhls day. . . .
". . . lL ls lmporLanL, we Lhlnk, LhaL Lhls requlremenL [of probable cause] be sLrlcLly
enforced, for Lhe sLandard seL by Lhe ConsLlLuLlon proLecLs boLh Lhe offlcer and Lhe
clLlzen. lf Lhe offlcer acLs wlLh probable cause, he ls proLecLed even Lhough lL Lurns ouL
LhaL Lhe clLlzen ls lnnocenL. . . . And whlle a search wlLhouL a warranL ls, wlLhln llmlLs,
permlsslble lf lncldenL Lo a lawful arresL, lf an arresL wlLhouL a warranL ls Lo supporL an
lncldenLal search, lL musL be made wlLh probable cause. . . . 1hls lmmunlLy of offlcers
cannoL falrly be enlarged wlLhouL [eopardlzlng Lhe prlvacy or securlLy of Lhe clLlzen."
1he lnfrlngemenL on personal llberLy of any "selzure" of a person can only be
"reasonable" under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL lf we requlre Lhe pollce Lo possess
"probable cause" before Lhey selze hlm. Cnly LhaL llne draws a meanlngful dlsLlncLlon
beLween an offlcer's mere lnkllng and Lhe presence of facLs wlLhln Lhe offlcer's personal
knowledge whlch would convlnce a reasonable man LhaL Lhe person selzed has
commlLLed, ls commlLLlng, or ls abouL Lo commlL a parLlcular crlme. "ln deallng wlLh
probable cause, . . . as Lhe very name lmplles, we deal wlLh probablllLles. 1hese are noL
Lechnlcal, Lhey are Lhe facLual and pracLlcal conslderaLlons of everyday llfe on whlch
reasonable and prudenL men, noL legal Lechnlclans, acL." 8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes, 338
u.S. 160, 173 .
1o glve Lhe pollce greaLer power Lhan a maglsLraLe ls Lo Lake a long sLep down Lhe
LoLallLarlan paLh. Þerhaps such a sLep ls deslrable Lo cope wlLh modern forms of
lawlessness. 8uL lf lL ls Laken, lL should be Lhe dellberaLe cholce of Lhe people Lhrough a
consLlLuLlonal amendmenL. [392 u.S. 1, 39] unLll Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, whlch ls
closely allled wlLh Lhe llfLh, 4 ls rewrlLLen, Lhe person and Lhe effecLs of Lhe lndlvldual
are beyond Lhe reach of all governmenL agencles unLll Lhere are reasonable grounds Lo
belleve (probable cause) LhaL a crlmlnal venLure has been launched or ls abouL Lo be
1here have been powerful hydraullc pressures LhroughouL our hlsLory LhaL bear heavlly
on Lhe CourL Lo waLer down consLlLuLlonal guaranLees and glve Lhe pollce Lhe upper
hand. 1haL hydraullc pressure has probably never been greaLer Lhan lL ls Loday.
?eL lf Lhe lndlvldual ls no longer Lo be soverelgn, lf Lhe pollce can plck hlm up whenever
Lhey do noL llke Lhe cuL of hls [lb, lf Lhey can "selze" and "search" hlm ln Lhelr dlscreLlon,
we enLer a new reglme. 1he declslon Lo enLer lL should be made only afLer a full debaLe
by Lhe people of Lhls counLry.

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