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Monday, January 26, 2009

SCOTUS Holds Pat Down of Car Passenger After Stop Justified if Based on Reasonable Suspicion

In Arizona v. Johnson, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held today that, after a car is lawfully stopped for a traffic violation, the police may search a passenger as long as they have reasonable suspicion to believe the suspect is armed and currently dangerous.  The Court held that the reasonable suspicion necessary to institute a stop and frisk is satisfied by the suspicion justifying the initial stop, even though that suspicion is directed at the driver, not his or her passengers.  Once the stop is made, therefore, the police need only reasonable suspicion to believe the passenger is armed and dangerous in order to proceed to a frisk. [Mike Mannheimer]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2009/01/scotus-holds-pa.html

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