Saturday, August 09, 2014

AZ: Unanimous Supreme Court: No Stop and Frisk for Being Peacably Armed

In a case that brought shock-waves to the judicial establishment, an Arizona appeals court ruled that an officer could stop and disarm someone merely because they were armed.

Now the Arizona Supreme Court has reversed that ruling in a unanimous decision.   From

Police cannot frisk someone they stop and question absent some “reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot,” the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
 While this ruling applies only to Arizona,it was the United States Constitution and the fourth amendment that was cited, not the Arizona Constitution.  In a related event in Wisconsin, an open carry activist was instrumental in the repeal of a county ordinance which did not comply with state law.   The activist, William Polster, was legally carrying in a county park.   The local ordinance, which was clearly invalid by state law, was given as the reason for a deputy pointing a loaded rifle at Polster.    Polster recorded the entire event, and the county board said that they would repeal the ordinance and cease enforcement the next day.

The Arizona Supreme Court continued with this statement:
“When officers consensually engage citizens on the street without having any evidence of wrongdoing, the mere presence of a weapon does not afford officers constitutional permission to search weapons-carrying individuals,” she said. “To conclude otherwise would potentially subject countless law-abiding persons solely for exercising their right to carry a firearm.”
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.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.  Link to Gun Watch

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