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Maryland v. Buie

Brief Fact Summary. After arresting the Respondent, Buie (Respondent), a police officer enter the Respondent’s basement to perform a protective sweep. While performing the protective sweep, the officer discovered evidence that aided in the Respondent’s conviction.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. When police have a reasonable belief that a serious danger exists, they are allowed to carry out a protective sweep.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Even in high crime areas, where the possibility that any given individual is armed is significant, Terry requires reasonable, individualized suspicion before a frisk for weapons can be conducted.

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Facts. Police officers entered the Respondent’s home to arrest him. After the Respondent emerged from his basement, a police officer entered the basement to ensure no one else was in the there. While the officer was in the basement, he found evidence linking the Respondent to the robbery that had led to the Respondent’s arrest. The Respondent was subsequently found guilty of robbery.

Issue. Is probable cause that a serious danger exists required before police perform a protective sweep after arresting a person in his home?

Held. No. Only a reasonable belief (reasonable suspicion) that a serious danger exists is required before police perform a protective sweep after arresting a person in his home.

Dissent. Probable cause should be the standard applied for protective sweeps because of the sanctity of the home, and level of intrusion that is caused by a protective sweep

Discussion. Under the Fourth Amendment, searches going beyond the scope of a warrant are allowed when the search is objectively carried out for the safety of police.

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