San Diego Law Review


Judith N. Keep

Document Type



The controversy surrounding the legality of police "stop and frisk" practices at last has been partially resolved by the Supreme Court. In the case of Terry v. Ohio, which is further illuminated by its companion case Sibron v. New York, the Court established a constitutional standard for the frisk under the search and seizure clause of the fourth amendment. Additionally, it strongly suggested that the same standard would be applied to the stop. Thus, not only did the Court resolve the debate in favor of this often employed police practice, but under the doctrine of Mapp v. Ohio, the standard it set applies to the states. This note will seek: (1) To analyze Terry v. Ohio to determine what the standard is, what trends are suggested by the dicta, where problem areas remain in applying the standard; and (2) to discuss the California law of "stop and frisk" in order to ascertain how the California practice correlates to the constitutional standard defined in Terry v. Ohio: what practices are compatible and which appear either below the minimum standard or in need of greater clarity.