Two officers were patrolling a high-crime area of a town known for its high incidence of drug dealing. They noticed a man standing by a car speaking to the driver and passenger. He handed them an object and walked away.
According to the officers, when the driver and his passenger spotted the police, they got out of the car quickly and began walking away while glancing back at the officers nervously. The officers stopped the two men and asked them a few questions. During questioning, the officers detected what they believed was the smell of marijuana on the men.
The officers then performed a pat-down search and one of them noticed a bulge in the pocket of the driver’s jacket. The bulge felt like a bag of pills, so the officer reached into the man’s jacket and pulled out what was actually a bag of marijuana. The officers arrested the driver and searched the car. They found more marijuana under both seats of the car. They then arrested the passenger.
- Was the stop of the two men by the officers legal with reference to the case of Illinois v. Gates (1983)? Why?
- Was the search of the two men legal with reference to the case Minnesota v. Dickerson (1993)? Why?
- Was the seizure of the marijuana from the driver a violation of the protection guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment? Why?
- Was the officers’ search of the car legal? Why?
- Was the arrest of the passenger legal? Why?