Requirements for a Reasonable Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects persons from unreasonable government intrusions, "a standard which only becomes meaningful" "when it is assured that at some point the conduct of those charged with enforcing the laws can be subjected to the more detached, neutral scrutiny of a judge who must evaluate the reasonableness of a particular search or seizure in light of the particular circumstances." Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 21-22 (1968). A person is "seized" when the circumstances suggests a reasonable person would not feel free to leave. Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567, 573-74 (1988). When a person is considered "detained" the Fourth Amendment requires that police and law enforcement must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that "criminal activity is afoot." Terry, 392 U.S. at 21; United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1989). See also: United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1989). Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 326-327, 110 L. Ed. 2d 301, 110 S. Ct. 2412 (1976) In O'Neal, the Court concluded that to stop a young African American, simply because he was deboarding a bus enroute from a drug source city who looked nervous, walked briskly, and carried an athletic bag did not constitute reasonable articulable suspicion. In Jones v. State, Del. Supr., 745 A.2d 856 (1999) the Delaware Supreme Court found that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to detain a defendant just because he fit a general description of a 911 drug complaint; was in a high crime area; and was standing in close proximity to the 911 complaint location.