police, frisk, anonymous tip, New York, stop-and-frisk, fleeing suspects, reasonable suspicion, founded suspicion


This Note focuses on two areas of uncertainty: the authority to stop and frisk fleeing suspects and the appropriate grounds to stop and frisk a suspect based on an anonymous tip. Four years ago, the ambiguities of a controversial New York Court of Appeals decision threw the lower courts into disarray as the standard of suspicion necessary to justify a police officer's pursuit of a fleeing suspect. This Note attempts to clarify those ambiguities and suggests a more reasonable approach for adoption by the court of appeals. This Note also explores the extent to which an anonymous tip can serve as a predicate for the stop-and-frisk action by a police officer. This Note identifies two apparently conflicting lines of cases in New York and offers a recommendation to resolve this conflict. The authority for stop-and-frisk procedure is both constitutional and statutory. New York's criminal Procedure Law codifies the reasonableness standard set forth by the Supreme Court in Terry v. Ohio, in which the Court recognizes the need for police initiated confrontations with private citizens based upon less than probable cause, the constitutional standard for issuance of search and arrest warrants. This lesser degree of cause needed for initiating a stop and frisk is known as "reasonable suspicion." A third and less intrusive level of police initiated interference with citizens, the common-law right of inquiry, has been articulated by the New York Court of Appeals. The predicate for this common-law right is "founded suspicion" of criminal activity. The grey area between the apparently indiscernible terms "reasonable" and "founded" suspicion is discussed in the context of cases involving anonymous tips.

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