Frisking or a "patdown" is a search of a person's outer clothing wherein a
police officeror other law enforcement agent runs his or her hands along the outer garments to detect any concealed weapons or other contraband.
In the case of "Terry v. Ohio", 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the
Supreme Court of the United Statesheld that police have the ability to do a limited search for weapons of areas within the suspect’s control based on a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the person stopped was "armed or dangerous" and had been, is, or was about to engage in a criminal act. The type of frisk authorized by this decision has become known as a Terry stop and frisk or simply Terry stop.
A Terry stop has two parts: the stop and the frisk. When Terry stopping someone, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has, is, or is about to be, committed. During the course of the law enforcement agent's stop, if the officer feels that the suspect is in possession of a weapon that is of danger to him or others, he may conduct a patdown of the suspect's outer clothing garments to search for weapons. For the frisk to be constitutional, the officer must testify that he conducted a patdown for his personal safety, or the safety of others in the area. Pursuant to the "plain feel" doctrine, police may seize not only weapons discovered in a Terry stop but also contraband when the contraband nature of such is immediately apparent to the officer. An officer may not, however, seize such contraband if its identity is not immediately apparent to the officer upon administering the frisking.
Stop and search, a UK equivalent.
Search and seizure
* [http://www.cga.ct.gov/2007/rpt/2007-R-0036.htm Connecticut guide to permissible scope of the "Terry" investigatory "stop"] .
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