Discuss the origins and importance of probable cause as it relates to law enforcement’s discretion to search Terry’s car in this case.

Assignment 2: Terry V.Ohio 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. ED.2d 889, 1968 U.S.

Due Week 8 and worth 150 points


The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution limits the power of the police to make arrests, search people and their property, and seize objects and contraband, such as illegal drugs or weapons. These limits are the bedrock of search and seizure law and are ultimately at the root of your right to privacy.


Analyze the following case in preparation for a systematic approach to your synthesis of law and fact:



Write an eight to ten (8-10) page legal Memorandum paper in which you:

  1. Summarize five (5) key aspects of Terry v. Ohio.
  2. Posit whether or not you believe law enforcement violated Terry and the other men’s right to privacy which the Fourth Amendment guarantees. Justify your position.
  3. Examine the dissenting opinion of Justice Douglas, as discussed in the case. Discuss the origins and importance of probable cause as it relates to law enforcement’s discretion to search Terry’s car in this case.
  4. Examine the two part test provided by the Court in Terry that first asks whether the officer’s action is justified at its inception; and second, asks whether it is reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place.Discuss whether or not this test leaves officers with too much discretion when making a determination to stop an individual. Provide a rationale for your response.
  5. Examine the Court’s holding in Terry that provides that probable cause is based upon the totality of the circumstances. Review the factors that help shape the totality of circumstances, such as specialized knowledge of the officers, investigative inferences, personal observations of suspicious behavior, and information from other sources. Question whether these factors in question are too subjective to establish probable cause. Provide a rationale for your response.
  6. Debate the validity of the Court’s holding that “whenever a police officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to walk away, he has “seized” that person with the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Justify your response.
  7. Use at least two (2) quality references. Note: Wikipedia and other Websites do not qualify as academic resources.


Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:

  • Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA or school-specific format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
  • Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required assignment page length.


The specific course learning outcomes associated with this assignment are:


  • Illustrate the workings of the adversary system.
  • Use technology and information resources to research issues in U.S. Courts.
  • Write clearly and concisely about U.S. Courts using proper writing mechanics and APA style conventions.

Grading for this assignment will be based on answer quality, logic/organization of the paper, and language and writing skills, using the following rubric.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page: