Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968) (50 Most Cited Cases)

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We think that society is wholly unprepared and unwilling to take that step. Accordingly, we conclude that a dog sniff of a properly stopped vehicle is not a search. Caballes, supra at ; Indianapolis v. Edmond, supra at 40; Commonwealth v. Sinforoso, supra at , citing United States v. Place, supra at Supreme Court's approach to the Fourth Amendment issue presented in this case".

After "the dog indicated the presence of narcotics in the rear of the car, the police had probable cause to search the car. Sinforoso, supra at , citing Commonwealth v.

Reasonable Suspicion/Terry Search

Pinto, 45 Mass. Consequently, the discovery and seizure of the contraband was proper and Feyenord's motion to suppress was correctly denied.

Sufficiency of the evidence. Feyenord argues that the judge erred in denying his motion for a required finding of not guilty, which he made at the close of the Commonwealth's case and at the close of all the evidence, because the evidence did not demonstrate his participation in a joint venture to traffic in. Pope, Mass. Clary, Mass. It is enough if the inferences drawn from the circumstances be reasonable and possible.

The weight of the evidence is for the jury. Medeiros, Mass.


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Bernier v. Massachusetts, U. State Troopers Pinkes and Devlin testified at trial, providing much the same account as offered at the hearing on Feyenord's motion to suppress and credited by the judge in his findings on the motion. The State trooper testified that the purity and packaging of the cocaine and the discovery of a scale with the drugs were consistent with drug dealing. In Feyenord's defense, a former girl friend of Feyenord's uncle testified that Feyenord had stayed in her Worcester home the night before his arrest, after he arrived on a bus from New York City.

She also testified that she gave Feyenord permission to drive her vehicle back to New York so long as he returned it the same day, but indicated that there were no drugs in the. Feyenord testified in his own defense and denied that he had any knowledge of the cocaine found in the vehicle. He claimed that he was in Massachusetts investigating the possibility of moving here from New York.

Feyenord asserted that, while Cox had placed his parcels in the trunk, he had not looked in the trunk himself. He explained that he gave a false name, the name of a cousin, to Pinkes at the traffic stop because he was wanted on an outstanding default arrest warrant from , which he did not want discovered.

Stop and Frisk

Feyenord also testified that the large sum of cash on his person had been wired to him for work he performed as an auto detailer while in New York City, although the defense did not further substantiate the claim. At trial, the Commonwealth argued alternatively that Feyenord was guilty of cocaine trafficking as a principal or as a participant in a joint venture. The jury found Feyenord guilty solely as a joint venturer. Charros, Mass. Bianco, Mass. We conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict.

Charros, supra at ; Commonwealth v.

445 Mass. 72

Sabetti, Mass. The jury could have reasonably concluded that Feyenord knew of the large quantity of drugs stored in the vehicle he was driving because Feyenord appeared nervous when approached by Pinkes and provided false, evasive, and implausible answers. Commonwealth, Mass. In addition, Feyenord possessed a large sum of cash when arrested, in denominations consistent with his involvement with drug dealing. Brzezinski, Mass. From this evidence, the jury could have inferred that Feyenord was at least assisting Cox with the enterprise of trafficking cocaine. As Feyenord was driving a vehicle containing a large quantity of cocaine and the Commonwealth's case permitted a reasonable inference that Feyenord knew of the cocaine and intended to assist Cox with trafficking it, the evidence supports the jury's verdict of Feyenord's guilt as a joint venturer.

Continuum of Intrusiveness of Police Conduct

We see no error in the denial of Feyenord's motions for a required finding of not guilty. I agree with the court that the defendant's motion to suppress was properly denied because the police acted lawfully. In the circumstances that occurred, when a police officer harbors a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, and that suspicion escalates, based on multiple false and evasive responses, and then reasonably focuses on the possibility of drug-related criminal activity, [Note Greaney-1] a dog sniff around the exterior of an otherwise lawfully stopped vehicle is a permissible investigative technique.

I write separately, however, to. In our democratic society, special concern must be vigilantly exercised by the courts to balance the rights of the police under the principles of Terry v. Many of these citizens some even noncitizens , because of their economic standing, will be driving vehicles with defective equipment or driving them without proper licenses or registrations.

Moreover, these vehicles will frequently be operated in areas of cities that have known drug zones Lowell, Holyoke, Springfield, parts of Boston, to mention a few. The police, endeavoring to stamp out drug commerce and use, will invariably be making traffic stops in these zones. The lack of a license or proper registration or the commission of a routine traffic violation, coupled with nervousness, or even some evasion on the part of the operator or others in the vehicle, may provide a basis to continue detention under Terry principles, but should not, by themselves, provide a basis to bring in a drug-sniffing dog.

As cogently noted by Professor LaFave:. Allowing use of the drug dogs at all in conjunction with traffic stops can only encourage the making of stops for insignificant and technical violations on the basis of unarticulated suspicions and mere hunches or, at worst, on totally arbitrary and discriminatory bases. Moreover, allowing use of the dogs at all adds to the process another decision, whether to summon a drug dog, that the cases indicate requires no reasonable suspicion nor, for that matter, any justification whatsoever, but that.

See 4 W. This case also provides an opportunity to speak directly to the subject of racial or ethnic profiling in the context of the use of drug sniffing dogs during traffic stops. The majority of police officers proceed in good faith when making traffic stops. Some officers, however, do not and proceed more on stereotypical thinking and hunches, using dubious investigative techniques that result in the harassment of racial and ethnic minorities.

In his concurring opinion in Commonwealth v. The same kind of discriminatory conduct is also directed at other ethnic groups, especially Hispanics. A motorist must never be stopped based on his or her race or ethnicity without legally sufficient cause.


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Getting a traffic ticket is never a happy experience. Getting a traffic ticket if you are a black or Hispanic person who has committed a minor traffic violation and then been questioned in public view by an armed police officer determined to find a basis, or extract consent, to bring in a police dog, is humiliating, painful, and unlawful.

See generally S. Place, U. One Ford Thunderbird Auto. I would pursue the art. Gonsalves, supra at art. I would recognize that the act of summoning a dog heightens the tension inherent in any traffic stop to a measurable degree, and that the use of a drug-sniffing dog, even around the exterior of a vehicle, sends a clear public signal, not only to the detained motorist, but to all others passing by, that a drug investigation is in progress.

In sum, "[i]njecting [a dog] into a routine traffic stop changes the character of the encounter between the police and the motorist. The stop becomes broader, more adversarial, and in at least some cases longer. Caballes, supra at Ginsburg, J. Taking a broader perspective, there is something viscerally disturbing about the use of police dogs in traffic stops -- something that hints at the oppressive measures used by police in societies where respect for personal freedom and privacy are devalued or nonexistent.

In my view, we should clearly delineate the permissible bounds of a routine traffic stop, beyond which police officers may not go, in order fully to protect the art.

-- State v. Mitchell -- Lockett -- Kansas Supreme Court

A police officer conducting a traffic stop may not summon a canine officer and dog on a mere hunch or unarticulated suspicion that drugs might be discovered in the stopped vehicle. See State v. Nor may the officer continue to engage the vehicle's occupants in arbitrary or dilatory.

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