Terry vs. Ohio

Procedural History

This case had initially been handled by both a trial and an immediate appellate court. The trial court rejected the pursuit by the defense petitioners to stop the use of the apprehended weapons since the officer had a right to frisk them for his own defense since they conducted themselves suspiciously. In response, the immediate appellate court agreed with the decision by the trial court and the case was later taken to Ohio State Supreme court.


The petitioner, John Terry and Richard Chilton were identified by Martin McFadden, a detective from Cleveland Police department behaving in a suspicious way that suggested an intention to rob on a street during the day. McFadden approached them and identified himself as a police officer before ordering them to a particular store. He frisked them and obtained a revolver from the two men and thereby took them to the police station together with a third man who appeared to be their associate. Terry and Chilton were charged before a trial court with carrying hidden weapons. However, the two men decided to appeal the court ruling claiming that the manner in which the officer searched them and confiscated the weapons was against the provisions of the Fourth Amendment of the US constitution.

Legal Issue

Did the police officer violate the Fourth Amendment of the constitution by frisking and seizing the weapons that both Terry and Chilton were carrying?


The court resolved that the police officer did not violate the constitution by searching and seizing the weapons possessed by the two men and therefore their appeal had no considerable constitutional question.


The court reached the decision by reasoning that the action by the officer to search the petitioners was reasonable since it was the only way to protect himself and other people incase the men were carrying weapons. Therefore, the Fourth amendment relates to search the police carried out since he was legitimately investigating a suspicious conduct (Lasson, 1937).


The State Supreme Court agreed with the opinion of the two prior courts.

The Models to Control Crime

I support Crime control model ahead of due process model. This is because the latter tends to support and protect the defendant unlike the former which protects the rights of the victim. Crime control model attempts to reduce the chances of the crime happening while due process model looks into suppressing the evidence against the evidence. Crime control argues that there are many facts that can lead to an arrest and suspects should be treated as ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ In many cases where the evidence tries to reduce the probability that the accused was actually guilty, the victims are left to suffer and the offender is left free, in the name of protecting the rights of every person. This is unfair to the victims of crime.

Crime control model ensures that the law enforcers have freedom in their duties. They should be left alone and have their guidelines, rather than suppressing their efforts to fight crime and perform their jobs. Due process model is popular among criminals since there is a chance that they can be proven innocent. It changes the course of the case and tries to victimize the arrest procedure, instead of looking for justice and the people involved in criminal activities.

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