31 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 327 (1993-1994)
Race, Reasonable Articulable Suspicion, and Seizure

handle is hein.journals/amcrimlr31 and id is 343 raw text is: RACE, REASONABLE ARTICULABLE SUSPICION,
AND SEIZURE
I.  INTRODUCTION    ......................................                 327
II. THE LEGAL STANDARD GOVERNING TERRY-STOPS UNDER THE
FOURTH AMENDMENT ................................                       328
A. The Reasonable Articulable Suspicion Standard ...........            329
B. Evaluating a Stop as a Seizure .........................             330
C. The Constitutional Test .............................331
III. THE RACIAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE LEGAL STANDARD               .......     332
A. The Reasonable Articulable Suspicion Standard and Race ....          332
1. The Drug Courier Profile ......................... 333
2. Race as a Factor for Suspicion ......................            334
3. Potential Equal Protection Claim ....................            339
B. The Seizure Standard and Race .......................                342
1. The Effect of Race on Interaction with Police ...........        344
2. Reasonable African-American Standard ...............             346
IV.  CONCLUSION     .......................................                  348
I. INTRODUCTION
The American criminal justice system is frequently criticized for allowing
racial prejudice to play a significant role in determining who is accused,
prosecuted, and convicted of crimes.1 In response, it is often argued that a
certain amount of racial prejudice is an unfortunate, but acceptable price to
pay for a system which is for the most part fair.2 This Note examines the role
racial bias plays in one aspect of the criminal justice system: police-citizen
encounters.3 The Note attempts to demonstrate that the current legal
1. See, e.g., Charles J. Ogletree, Does Race Matter In Criminal Prosecutions? CHAMPION, July 1991, at
6 (discussing racial discrimination in criminal prosecutions); Developments in the Law - Race and the
Criminal Process, 101 HARV. L. REV. 1472, 1494 (1988) (discussing racially discriminatory police
conduct under Fourth Amendment); Sheri L. Johnson, Race and the Decision to Detain a Suspect, 93
YALE L.J. 214, 215 (1983) (discussing issue of race in determining criminal suspicion).
2. See, e.g., McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987). In McCleskey, the Supreme Court found
Georgia's death sentencing process constitutional despite finding that there may be a discrepancy in
sentencing which correlates with race. In rejecting petitioner McCleskey's claim that racial bias
impermissibly tainted his capital sentencing, the Court stated: McCleskey's claim, taken to its logical
conclusion, throws into serious question the principles that underlie our entire criminal justice
system. Id. at 314-15.
3. Examining racial bias during police-citizen encounters is important because it is usually the first
stage of the criminal process. In addition, [tjhe infusion of racial bias into the criminal process is
particularly troublesome at the policing stage because it is at that point that citizens first encounter
the community's strongest normative commitments. Developments in the Law - Race and the Criminal
Process, supra note 1, at 1494.

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