Crim Pro Question: Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

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desperate4lawschool
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Crim Pro Question: Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

Postby desperate4lawschool » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:30 pm

I'm still wondering how to distinguish when there's probable cause to search/seize someone and when there's not. Same thing with reasonable suspicion to stop/frisk. It seems like the determination is very arbitrary.

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bilbobaggins
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Re: Crim Pro Question: Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

Postby bilbobaggins » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:46 pm

Probable cause - A reasonable belief an individual has committed a crime. Courts will use a totality of the circumstances approach when determining whether or not the officer in question was behaving under an objectively reasonable belief.

Reasonable suspicion - Less than probable cause, more than a hunch. Must be based on specific and articulable facts combined with rational inferences from those facts. Also judged based on the reasonable officer standard.

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Paichka
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Re: Crim Pro Question: Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

Postby Paichka » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:51 pm

Well, it IS, a bit.

Probable cause is a fair probability that either (a) the area or object searched contains evidence of a crime (probable cause to search) or (b) the person arrested has committed a crime (probable cause to arrest). This "fair probability" language comes from Illinois v. Gates...the test for probable cause is totality of the circumstances, rather than any sort of bright-line rule. There's no definition for what a "fair probability" is, but it's probably somewhere south of a 50% likelihood (according to my crim pro professor, anyway). So in Gates, we had an anonymous informant giving up information that was corroborated by a police investigation (innocent activities, but an innocent explanation for shady behavior doesn't vitiate probable cause), which gave probable cause to search the Gates' car.

Reasonable suspicion is the same, except a fair POSSIBILITY as opposed to probability. You need particularized suspicion, based on articulable facts, based on the totality of the circumstances, in order to stop and frisk someone. You can stop them when you have a reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts that a crime is in progress (or being contemplated), and you can frisk them when you have a reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts that they're armed and dangerous. So in Terry, the cop could stop the defendants because they were acting shady, he had 20 years on the force and a knack for identifying shady characters. He could frisk them because people who are about to rob a store often have weapons, and they were all wearing bulky jackets.

So either way, we're looking at a totality of the circumstances test.

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kalvano
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Re: Crim Pro Question: Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

Postby kalvano » Sat Dec 04, 2010 10:57 pm

It is arbitrary.


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ggocat
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Re: Crim Pro Question: Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

Postby ggocat » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:03 pm

kalvano wrote:It is arbitrary.

So true! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCcAkJlr ... re=related
"I knew from my experience and training that violent sexual predators and gang members often go to Burger King."




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