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Frisking merely for “officer’s safety” is unconstitutional, absent reasonable articulable suspicion

Oct 19, 2010 Frisking merely for “officer’s safety” is unconstitutional, absent reasonable articulable suspicion

An arrest is but an arrest, and is not a conviction. Know your rights. (Image from FBI’s website).

By Jon Katz, a criminal defense lawyer and DWI/ DUI/ Drunk Driving lawyer fighting for the best possible results in the courts of Fairfax County, Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and beyond.

Four years ago, I blogged about a police officer who routinely pats down suspects, whether or not he has reasonable articulable suspicion to believe that the person is carrying weapons or unlawful items.

Today, addressing a Virginia police officer from another jurisdiction who does the same thing, Virginia’s intermediate appellate court reversed a drug conviction where the drugs were found pursuant to an unlawful frisk by an officer who routinely pats down just about every suspect he investigates unless the person is able to convince him that s/he is not carrying weapons or contraband. Baker v. Virginia, ___ Va. App. ___ (Oct. 19, 2010).  

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