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Sibron v. New York

United States Supreme Court
Nos. 63 & 74 392 U.S. 40 (1968)


In two separate cases, New York (plaintiff) successfully prosecuted Sibron (defendant) for possessing heroin and Peters (defendant) for possessing burglary tools. In the Sibron case, a policeman, for eight hours, observed but did not overhear Sibron conversing with known drug addicts. The policeman stopped Sibron and told Sibron, "you know what I'm after." Sibron mumbled a response and quickly stuck his hand in his pocket. The policeman reached into Sibron's coat, where he found heroin, which became trial evidence. In the Peters case, a policeman saw Peters fleeing from the scene of a suspected burglary, stopped Peters, frisked Peters for weapons, and instead found burglary tools in Peters's possession. The tools were admitted into trial evidence. Each man appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals of New York, which found that the policemen's actions were legal under a New York stop-and-frisk law and affirmed the convictions. Sibron and Peters appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which joined the two cases to consider their Fourth Amendment implications.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)

Concurrence (Harlan, J.)

Concurrence (Fortas, J.)

Concurrence (White, J.)

Concurrence (Douglas, J.)

Dissent (Black, J.)

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