The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that generic "Officer Safety" is not sufficient to ask people if they are armed. In a ruling on July 9th, 2015, the court found that police officers may not simply ask someone if they have a weapon, if there is no good, specific reason. From State v. Jimenez(pdf):
In this criminal case, an Oregon state trooperHere is the Oregon Constitution:
stopped defendant for jaywalking and asked him if he had
any weapons on him. For the reasons that follow, we conclude
that Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution1 does not
permit a law enforcement officer to make such an inquiry
as a matter of routine and in the absence of circumstances
that indicate danger to the officer or members of the public.
Article I, section 9, of the Oregon Constitution provides:The case is similar to one that was settled in the Arizona Supreme Court on August 7th, 2014. From a previous Gun Watch article:
“No law shall violate the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search, or seizure; and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath, or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.”
In the case of State of Arizona v. Johnathon Bernard Serna, the court makes it clear that two criteria must be met for a forced stop and frisk. First, the officer must have a reasonably articulable suspicion of criminal activity. Then, they must also have reason to believe the person is armed and dangerous. Both conditions must be met. Officers may ask people to consent to be disarmed; but the stop is not consensual if a reasonable person would believe that they would be allowed to leave the scene.In the Oregon case, the officer stopped Jimenez for jaywalking, then asked if he had any weapons. The Court ruled that generic "officer safety" was insufficient for this query.
The Supreme Court has ruled that anonymous tips that someone is armed are not sufficient reason so stop and search them for weapons. From Florida v. J.L. (2000) 529 U.S. 266:
Finally, the Court dismissed the state’s argument for a blanket “firearm exception” to the Terry reasonable suspicion requirement. Under such an exception, an undetailed and uncorroborated “tip alleging an illegal gun would justify a stop and frisk even if the accusation would fail standard pre-search reliability testing.” (Id. at 272.) The Court reasoned that this would allow wrongdoers to engage in harassment of other individuals by falsely asserting that they were carrying firearms. (Ibid.) Moreover, there is no logical way to limit any such public policy exception merely to tips involving firearms; any exception would quickly be expanded to drug-related tips and beyond to any tip reporting dangerous or threatening criminal behavior. (Id. at 272-73.)Perhaps a slight gain in the restoration of Second Amendment rights is occurring in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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