That's the best word to describe the state of understanding of the concept of "probable cause," which is often abbreviated as "PC. Let's see if we can reduce the confusion.
Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion These familiar terms are often confused and misused. But what do these terms mean? And how do you match the right level of justification with the kind of conduct you're seeking to justify?
Probable Cause The Fourth Amendment provides that "no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause. The term "reasonable suspicion" is not of constitutional derivation but was fashioned by the court to describe a level of suspicion lower than probable cause. The court has struggled to provide meaningful definitions of both terms, and law enforcement officers have likewise struggled to understand and apply the court's vague, general pronouncements.
They are commonsense, non-technical conceptions that Probable cause article with the factual and Probable cause article considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act. As such, the standards are not readily, or even usefully, reduced to a neat set of legal rules.
Though it may not be possible to articulate precisely what "probable cause" means, the court has offered this guidance: Williams "Finely-tuned standards, such as proof beyond a reasonable doubt or by a preponderance of the evidence, useful in formal trials, have no place in the probable cause decision.
Pringle "The rule of probable cause is a practical, non-technical conception affording the best compromise that has been found for accommodating often opposing interests. Ohio "The process does not deal with hard certainties, but with probabilities.
Long before the law of probabilities was articulated as such, practical people formulated certain commonsense conclusions about human behavior; jurors as fact-finders are permitted to do the same-and so are law enforcement officers.
Cortez "We have held that probable cause means a 'fair probability'. Sometimes, it's easier to define something by pointing to a category of examples that make the meaning clear.
For instance, coming up with an abstract definition of "red" might be difficult, but the meaning could be made clear by saying, "It's the color of delicious apples, blood, ripe strawberries and tomatoes, ketchup, and stop signs. As the Fourth Amendment mandates, you need PC to get a search warrant.
The same goes for arrests. Ohio And PC is the level of information and suspicion that justifies the warrantless search of "fleeting targets," such as cars, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes, and boats.
Ross There is also a concept that is sometimes referred to as "probable cause plus. Lee, the Supreme Court said that when a search involves highly invasive probes into the body-such as surgery to recover a bullet-there must be probable cause to believe evidence will be found, plus a compelling need for the evidence that outweighs the suspect's right to be free of invasive procedures that could threaten his life or health.
Reasonable Suspicion It was not until that the need for a standard lower than PC was recognized by the Supreme Court. Ohio, the court confronted defense challenges to both the detention of a robbery suspect and the weapons frisk that disclosed the gun he sought to suppress.
The court noted that a temporary investigative detention is less of an infringement of a person's liberty than arresting him and taking him into custody. Therefore, said the court, police need not have as much justification for this lower level of restraint as the probable cause that would have been required to make an arrest.
The court called this lower justification standard for detentions "reasonable suspicion.
Ohio, we held that the police can stop and briefly detain a person for investigative purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity is afoot, even if the officer lacks probable cause.
Sokolow As for the weapons pat-down search of Terry, the court recognized that an officer-safety search limited to a frisk of a suspect's outer clothing is less of an intrusion on the suspect's privacy than a full-scale search of everything he was wearing and carrying; this partial search could be justified, said the court, based on a reasonable suspicion that the person might be armed and dangerous, which would be less than the PC necessary for a thorough search.
As with the concept of "probable cause," the lower standard of "reasonable suspicion" was not easily defined. Sokolow The court has said that both the quantity and the quality of information constituting reasonable suspicion may be below the level needed for PC. White Again, defining reasonable suspicion in terms of familiar activities, it is the level of information and suspicion you need when you make a vehicle stop or a pedestrian stop, or pat down someone who might be armed, or search a vehicle based on reasons to believe it may harbor concealed weapons.
Long In a Nutshell "Probable cause" means reasonably reliable information to suspect there is a "fair probability" that a person has committed a crime, or that a search will reveal contraband or evidence.
Devallis Rutledge is a former police officer and veteran prosecutor who currently serves as Special Counsel to the Los Angeles County District Attorney. He is the author of 12 books, including "Investigative Constitutional Law.With probable cause to believe evidence is present, police officers may search any area in the vehicle.
However, they may not extend the search to the vehicle's passengers without probable cause to search those passengers or consent from the passengers. . Probable Cause Findings. A finding of probable cause does not resolve a civil rights complaint.
Rather, it means the State has concluded its preliminary investigation and determined there is sufficient evidence to support reasonable suspicion that the Indiana Civil Rights Law has been violated. In United States criminal law, probable cause is the standard by which police authorities have reason to obtain a warrant for the arrest of a suspected criminal or the issuing of a search warrant.
Mar 05, · An earlier version of this article incorrectly defined the probable cause standard as requiring information that would allow a reasonable person to .
Probable cause to believe the person is a drug dealer establishes probable cause to search the person’s home for contraband and the usual instrumentalities of drug dealing. As Judge Hartz wrote.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no warrants shall be issued unless there is probable cause.
A parallel provision is found in Article I, Section 14 of the Ohio Constitution. Ohio’s criminal rules mandate that a judge, magistrate, clerk of court, or court officer designated by the judge must issue arrest warrants.