EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Monday, April 26, 2021

My New Supreme Court Amici Curia Brief in a Stop & Frisk Case

Should a police officer be able to frisk a suspect without an actual, good faith belief that the suspect is armed and presently dangerous? Some courts have answered this question in the affirmative. Other courts have held that such a belief is relevant but not dispositive. Finally, other courts have held that such a belief is irrelevant and that all that matters is whether an objectively reasonable officer in the officer's shoes could have believed that the suspect was armed and presently dangerous. 

The Supreme Court of Indiana seems to fall into this third category based upon its recent opinion in Johnson v. Indiana, which led to a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court filed by Daniel Harawa.

Today, along with Ben Miller of the Wren Collective, LLC, I filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of 98 law professors arguing that the Supreme Court should grant cert in the case and find that an actual, good faith belief that a suspect is armed and presently dangerous is required to commence or continue a frisk.




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Extremely important. This can become many times, really messy. One way to observe it, in more effective manner, is by posing simply question:

Did the police officer, believe himself or not. When one person, doesn't or couldn't believe to his own lies, surly, he lacks good faith.

And how do we know that one police officer, did believe himself or not? Well, simple investigation, can shed some light on it. Typically, that depends, upon indirect factual configuration.

Although, it can happen, that:

Although the police officer, couldn't believe himself, and his action was the product of inventive imagination, and even having illicit motive to harass, yet:

It was in parallel universe, reasonable and in good faith:

Suppose that the police officer is racist. Yet, he adheres to protocols, relying on reasonable facts and findings, but, notwithstanding, he hates blacks. He has proven history concerning his racial bias (for example).

Means, he was driven, by reasonable finding and motives, and, at the same time, driven by illicit motives.

That can become really messy.


Posted by: El roam | Apr 27, 2021 7:22:24 AM

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