Thursday, February 26, 2009

Add this to your list of things not to do

From the California case of People vs. Foranyic:
A police officer acted reasonably under U.S. Const., 4th Amend., in detaining a man he observed with an ax riding a bicycle at 3 a.m. A reasonable police officer, considering the totality of the circumstances, would reasonably suspect criminal activity might be afoot upon viewing someone riding a bicycle, with an ax, at 3 a.m., even though no recent “ax crime” had been reported. The officer could reasonably eliminate firefighting and logging from the list of possible pursuits the man might have been engaged in, and while there were doubtless some reasonable explanations that might be conjured up, the possibility of an innocent explanation did not deprive the officer of the capacity to entertain a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct. There is some activity that is so unusual, so removed from everyday experience, that cries out for investigation, and will justify a detention even when there is no specific crime to which it seems to relate, and that was the kind of activity the officer observed.

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