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Fourth Amendment -- Protective Sweep Doctrine: When Does the Fourth Amendment Allow Police Officers To Search the Home Incident to a Lawful Arrest?

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Volume: 81 Issue: 4 Dated: (Winter 1991) Pages: 862-882
M J Sifferlen
Date Published
21 pages
A majority of the Supreme Court upheld, in Maryland v. Buie, the protective sweep doctrine which based on the reasonable suspicion exception to traditional fourth amendment searches. Under the protective sweep, a police officer can search rooms in a private residence other than those specified in a search warrant, if he has reasonable suspicion that another individual posing a danger to those on the arrest scene is in one of those rooms.
This ruling extended the holding of Terry v. State of Ohio which allows police to conduct a protective, warrantless search of a person. The dissenting opinion warned against extended Terry, maintaining that such searches were intrusive and eroded fourth amendment protections against warrantless home searches. This author argues that, while the Court correctly balanced the legitimate concerns of officer safety against fourth amendment guarantees, it should more clearly define the specific and articulable facts which may justify a protective sweep. 158 notes