More on Reasonable Articulable Suspicion
- Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119 (01/12/2000)
Nervous, evasive behavior is another pertinent
factor in determining
reasonable suspicion, e.g., United States v.
Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873,
885, and headlong flight is the consummate act of
This case, involving a brief encounter between
a citizen and a police
officer on a public street, is governed by the
analysis we first applied in Terry.
In Terry, we held that an officer may, consistent with
the Fourth Amendment,
conduct a brief, investigatory stop when the officer
has a reasonable,
articulable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot.
Terry, supra, at 30. While
"reasonable suspicion" is a less demanding standard
than probable cause and
requires a showing considerably less than
preponderance of the evidence, the
Fourth Amendment requires at least a minimal level of
for making the stop. United States v. Sokolow, 490
U.S. 1, 7 (1989). The
officer must be able to articulate more than an
"inchoate and unparticularized
suspicion or `hunch' " of criminal activity. Terry ,
supra, at 27.(2)
Such a holding is entirely consistent with our
decision in Florida v.
Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983), where we held that when an
reasonable suspicion or probable cause, approaches an
individual has a right to ignore the police and go
about his business. Id ., at
498. And any "refusal to cooperate, without more, does
not furnish the
minimal level of objective justification needed for a
detention or seizure."
Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 437 (1991). But
unprovoked flight is simply
not a mere refusal to cooperate. Flight, by its very
nature, is not "going about
one's business"; in fact, it is just the opposite.
Allowing officers confronted
with such flight to stop the fugitive and investigate
further is quite consistent
with the individual's right to go about his business
or to stay put and remain
silent in the face of police questioning.
Cf. Fatetur facinus qui judicium fugit. He who
flees judgment confesses
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