Fourth Amendment Paper Assignment
Today, I am presented with a case that puts in question the violation of individual’s Fourth Amendment rights. This case also puts in question the rights of the authority placed in our streets, neighborhoods and towns to perform actions directed towards certain citizens in an effort to serve and protect the overall population. There must be a careful analysis in order to interpret the records of the incident that occurred to conclude who holds the most justified position in this case under the applicable laws. The Court of Appeals of the State of New York must also take into careful consideration the circumstances discussed and the ruling given by the District Court assigned to this case, which I will name the Miller v. New York case. It is my duty as Chief Justice of this Court to weigh in the full extent of the law on this case. The rules of the Fourth Amendment and rulings of previous cases must be applied to solidify the judgments to be made; in other words, to draw much more careful conclusions based on the law.
The first issue in the sequence of events that I must address is whether or not the two New York police officers were justified under the Fourth Amendment to stop defendant Miller while he was walking on a city street. To analyze this first issue in this case, I am obligated to state the actions occurred that lead to the stop. The District Court records indicate that the two police officers were patrolling the streets in the Harlem area. In a marked squad car, the officers observe Miller leave an apartment building. Defendant Miller starts walking in the direction of where the car was parked, but upon notice of the squad car and the officers, and furthermore making eye contact with one of the officers, suddenly stops and walks in the opposite direction. He enters a small alternate street on the opposite side of the building he exited. Defendant Miller evidently avoided walking by the officers.
There are precise rules that involve the stopping of an individual by the authority. The Fourth Amendment states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”. Specific distinctions within the Amendment are made in the prior case of Terry v. Ohio (392 U.S. 1 ). These distinctions discuss the rules and regulations adherent to stops of individuals by the authority. According to Justice Warren, delivering the opinion of the court in this case, “the police should be allowed to ‘stop’ a person and detaining him briefly for questioning upon suspicion that the individual may be connected with criminal activity”. This statement basically explains that unusual conduct of an individual observed by the authorities can give reasonable suspicion that criminal activity may be afoot. This reasonable suspicion is grounds for a stop and brief questioning by the authorities.