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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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An officer notices a suspicious man walking around a bank.

Customer Question

An officer notices a suspicious man walking around a bank. Jim the man of suspicion keeps looking into the bank's window; Jim then goes back to a car and chats with another group of men. Jim repeats this activity five or six times. The officer begins to suspect that the man is up to something. He stops the individual and does a quick pat down of the Jim's clothing, searching for weapons. He finds none; however, the individual has given the officer a great deal of lip so the officer decides to do a more complete search. In the process of the search, the officer finds a bag of drugs. He arrests the man and seizes the bag of drugs as evidence. Is this legal? How does it hold up? Hasnt the officer violated some aspect of procedural law? Are there simiular cases? What procedures has the officer broken and why?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer!

What was the "great deal of lip"?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
words actually used are unknown, just that he was very verbal with the officer after the initial search.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
in Minnesota v. Dickerson, 508 U.S. 366, 378 (1993), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the suppression of the drugs seized from Mr. Dickerson's pocket, the Supreme Court explained: "Where, as here, 'an officer who is executing a valid search for one item seizes a different item,' this Court rightly 'has been sensitive to the danger . . . that officers will enlarge a specific authorization, furnished by a warrant or an exigency, into the equivalent of a general warrant to rummage and seize at will.' Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. at 748 (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment). Here, the officer's continued exploration of respondent's pocket after having concluded that it contained no weapon was unrelated to 'the sole justification of the search [under Terry:] . . . the protection of the police officer and others nearby.' 392 U.S. at 29. It therefore amounted to the sort of evidentiary search that Terry expressly refused to authorize, see id at 26, and that we have condemned in subsequent cases. See Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. at 1049, n.14; Sibron, 392 U.S. at 65-66." Dickerson, 508 U.S. at 378.

From the facts you've described, the second search is not legal. It violates the Fourth Amendment. The drugs will be suppressed as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dickerson. What procedures has the officer violated? The officer either violated the Constitution or the officer violated department policy in not properly/thoroughly searching the person for weapons the first time around.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
What additional information are you seeking?

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