week one discussion 2 3 references

An officer learned that an armed robbery had been committed at a convenience store located half a mile from her beat. Fifteen minutes later, she noticed a man matching the suspect’s race, general age, weight, and height walking towards her with a backpack. Since it was only 7 P.M., and she had passed a few other men with a similar description, the officer did not consider stopping the man. Upon seeing the officer, the man suddenly started looking down at the ground and took an immediate left turn on the next street.

The officer followed him and stopped him to inquire where he was headed. He claimed to be “going home.” She asked him if she may look in his bag. Upon his refusal, she began to frisk him. During the frisking, she saw round objects outlined in his bag that aroused her suspicion.

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She ordered him to the ground and searched his backpack. The objects were bullets and she also recovered a gun that was eventually linked to the robberies.

In the court, the defense is bringing a motion to suppress the seizure of the gun due to an illegal stop, search, and seizure.

  • Which are the major issues in this case that would be brought to the judge? Why?
  • How would you argue that the officer’s stop of the man did or did not violate his Fourth Amendment protections, with reference to cases such as Terry v. Ohio (1968) and United States v. Sharpe (1985)? Why?
  • Did the officer have legal justification to search the man’s backpack? Why?
  • What is the strongest argument that your opposition can make regarding the legality or illegality of the search? Why?


View the case of The State of New Hampshire v. Michael D’Amour, which analyzes a warrantless search of a suspect’s backpack.

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