The Warren Court (1953–69)

Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Rights

What single justice objected to the Terry v. Ohio decision?

Justice William O. Douglas filed the lone dissent in Terry v. Ohio. Douglas believed that the police should not be able to search and seize a person unless they had probable cause. He explained:

To give the police greater power than a magistrate is to take a long step down the totalitarian path. Perhaps such a step is desirable to cope with modern forms of lawlessness. But if it is taken, it should be the deliberate choice of the people through a constitutional amendment. Until the Fourth Amendment, which is closely allied with the Fifth, is rewritten, the person and the effects of the individual are beyond the reach of all government agencies until there are reasonable grounds to believe (probable cause) that a criminal venture has been launched or about to be launched.


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