Police Encounter Case Study: Officer Taylor

Police Encounters
CJ 101 Unit 2 Assignment
Kaplan University

Police Encounter Case Study: Officer Taylor 

The first question in this case study seeks to find out whether Officer Taylor’s thoughts in regards to “those people” had any significant influence in the decisions she made during the stop. First, the thoughts expressed by Officer Taylor about the suspect are not clear on what she really meant by “those people” because his thoughts are subjective to numerous interpretations. Secondly, the fact that the driver was an African American female would have raised suspicion that Officer Taylor thoughts were racially motivated but nothing peculiar with her behavior that can validate this notion. From the foregoing, one cannot authoritatively say that the officer’s decision was influenced by the expressed thoughts.

The second question seeks to find out whether Officer Taylor had any reasonable suspicions that led him to stop the vehicle the first time. Under the US Law, a traffic officer is justified to stop a suspicious vehicle if it bears a set of characteristics such as; the car or its driver description matches that of a wanted criminal circulated through a flyer (Herring, 2017). In situation where the driver of the car has a suspicious behavior like diving under the influence or finally if the car or driver has been found at the scene of a crime. According to Matthew Lippman, an action is reasonably suspicious when there a series of circumstances that is deemed factual and have compelling reasons to any police officer that an action bordering on criminality is taking place (Lippman, 2016). In this case, I find Officer Taylor to have had reasonable suspicion of the car in questions because he felt that the car description matched, that which was being sort for engaging in a criminal activity.

In the third question, the aim is to find out whether the “Pat-Down” of this driver by Officer Taylor was legal. According to the judgment made by the US Supreme Court in 1968 in the case Terry v. Ohio, a police officer has the authority to ‘stop and frisk’, any individual they found to have reasonable suspicion of being in possession of a weapon (JUSTIA Law, 2017). In this case, Officer Taylor had reasonable suspicion over the car in question and therefore it was only reasonable for her to “Pat-Down” its driver. As such, this “Pat-Down” was legal and justified.

The fourth question seeks to establish whether there were exigent circumstances that would compel Officer Taylor to go after the suspect’s vehicle. An exigent circumstance is described as situation that is very urgent to the extent that a warrantless search or entry by a police officer is justified (Lippman, 2016). In this case, an exigent circumstance existed because the driver attempted to speed away when Officer Taylor requested her to produce her driving license.

Question five aims to establish whether the suspect’s gun was in plain view as well as whether the gun had been obtained legally. The Plain View rule mandates a police officer with the authority to undertake warrantless search on a suspect in the event that there is evidence of a criminal activity can be seen even without any intrusions being made (Lippman, 2016). In this case, a criminality was conducted the moment the suspect decided to speed away after being requested to produce her driving license. As such the gun was obtained in plain view and the gun was obtained legally.

Finally, the last question seeks to establish whether the bag of marijuana obtained from the suspect’s car was admissible as evidence. Admissible evidence can described as the type of evidence that a judge could receive in a specific case in order to be in a position to determine whether a specific case is merited for hearing (Lippman, 2016). I feel the that marijuana obtained from the suspect’s car was admissible as evidence because the moment the suspect decide to speed off after being requested to produce her driving license invoked the right of Officer Taylor conduct a search on the vehicle. This is because a criminal act had been committed for this reason; I believe that the Marijuana baggie was admissible.





Herring, J. (2017). Essential Cases: Criminal Law. Law Trove. doi:10.1093/he/9780191847295.001.0001

JUSTIA Law. (2017). Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968). Retrieved October 31, 2017, from https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/392/1/

Lippman, M. R. (2016). Contemporary criminal law: concepts, cases, and controversies. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.