The standard to arrest is probable cause. Darren Chaker recites recent cases discussing the fundamentals to support an arrest:

 

  • “In California, ‘an officer has probable cause for a warrantless arrest ‘if the facts known to him would lead a [person] of ordinary care and prudence to believe and conscientiously entertain an honest and strong suspicion that the person is guilty of a crime.”’[Citations.]” (Blakenhorn v. City of Orange (9th 2007) 485 F.3  463, 471; see also People v. Price (1991) 1 Cal.4 324, 410.)

 

  • “Probable cause” merely requires that “the facts and circumstances within [the officers’] knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information were sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the [plaintiff] had committed or was committing an offense. . . . Police must only show that, under the totality of the circumstances, . . . a prudent person would have concluded that there was a fair probability that [the suspect] had committed a crime.” (Hart v. Parks (9  2006) 450 F.3 1065-1066.)

 

  • “Probable cause to arrests exists when officers have knowledge or reasonably trustworthy information sufficient to lead a person of caution to believe that an offense has been or is being committed by the person being arrested.” (Citations omitted; Ewing v. City of Stockton (9  2009) 588 F.3rd 1065, 1069.)

 

  • “Probable cause to arrest exists when officers have knowledge or reasonably trustworthy information sufficient to lead a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense has been or is being committed by the person being arrested. (Citation) For information to amount to probable cause, it does not have to be conclusive of guilt, and it does not have to exclude the possibility of innocence. . . . (Citation)  . . . (P)olice are not required ‘to believe to an absolute certainty, or by clear and convincing evidence, or even by a preponderance of the available evidence’ that a suspect has committed a crime. (Citation)  All that is required is a ‘fair probability,’ given the totality of the evidence, that such is the case.  (Garcia v. County of Merced (9th 2011) 639 F.3rd 1206, 1209.)

 

  • Stop and Frisk – In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the court recognized that a limited stop and frisk of an individual could be conducted without a warrant based on less than probable cause. The stop must be based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion based on articulable facts, and the frisk is limited to a pat-down for weapons. An anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun is not, by itself, sufficient to justify a stop and frisk. Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266 (2000).
  • Florida v. Bostick 501 U.S. 429, 437 (1991) – A person’s refusal to cooperate is not sufficient for reasonable suspicion.
  • Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 124-25 (2000). – A person’s flight in a high crime area after seeing police was sufficient for reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk.

Last, Darren Chaker notes the same requirement of founded suspicion for a “person” stop applies to stops of individual vehicles. United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266 (2002). The scope of the “frisk” for weapons during a vehicle stop may include areas of the vehicle in which a weapon may be placed or hidden. Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983). The police may order passengers and the driver out of or into the vehicle pending completion of the stop. Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408 (1997). The passengers may not be detained longer than it takes the driver to receive his citation. Once the driver is ready to leave, the passengers must be permitted to go as well. During a stop for traffic violations, the officers need not independently have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot to justify frisking passengers, but they must have reason to believe the passengers are armed and dangerous. Arizona v. Johnson, 129 S Court. 781, 784 (2009).

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