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Terry v. Ohio

United States Supreme Court
392 U.S. 1 (1968)



An experienced police officer observed two men outside a store. Several times, the men walked up to the store window, peered inside, and then walked away. The officer found this behavior suspicious and suspected the men of planning a robbery of the store. At trial, the officer also testified that he thought the men may be armed. The officer approached the men and identified himself as the police. When the men merely mumbled answers in response to his inquiries, the officer grabbed Terry (defendant), spun him around, and patted down his outer clothing to determine whether Terry was armed. The officer discovered a gun in Terry’s coat pocket. The officer then conducted the same type of pat down of the other man and discovered a gun on him as well. Both men were charged with carrying a concealed weapon and Terry was convicted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)

Concurrence (Harlan, J.)

Concurrence (White, J.)

Dissent (Douglas, J.)

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