Probable Cause and Reasonable suspicion?

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Oct 3 12:47:56 PDT 2000

>>> h.curtiss.leung at 10/03/00 11:01AM >>>
Justin, Charles, et al.:

For the non-lawyers here, just what is the difference between probable cause and reasonable suspicion? --


CB: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from making warrantless searches or seizures without probable cause. Probable cause means having some evidentiary cause to believe the person searched or seized has committed a crime or is going to commit a crime.

In the 60's in the case of Terry that Justin mentioned, the Supreme Court held that an officer who had stopped and frisked someone for a gun did not violate the Constitutional requirement , even though the officer only had a reasonable suspicion that the person had a gun and not full probable cause.

They are word formulas, giving something of an illusion of objectivity, as the basis of standards of conduct.

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