Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Truth About NY City's Stop and Frisk Constitutionality

During the first Presidential Debate, Lester Holt initiated this dialog with Donald Trump:
HOLT: “Stop and frisk” was ruled unconstitutional in New York because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.
TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her, and our mayor — our new mayor — refused to go forward with the case. They would have won on appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, there are many places where it’s —
But here are the facts.

First, "Stop and Frisk" (aka "Terry Stops") was found to be constitutional in an 8-1 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision concerning "Terry vs. Ohio".  As a consequence no U.S. District Judge in New York can overrule that decision.  Thus Trump is right.

Lester Holt is also right because that District Judge did find it unconstitutional on the basis of how NY City was conducting those stops in violation of the 4th Amendment protection against "unreasonable" search and seizure.   In addition, the judge contended that it was also unconstitutional on the basis of the 14th Amendment's equal protection rights and that was a form of racial profiling.

When the decision came down, the then-Mayor Bloomberg vowed to appeal the decision but never did; and stop and frisk remained in effect until Mayor De Blasio essentially ended it when he came into office.  But, today, stop and frisk continues widely in cities across the U.S.  A fact that Trump was trying to explain before Holt interrupted him.

I guess we will never know if that District Judge's unconstitutionality decision was correct unless the City of New York appeals it all the way to the Supreme Court.  That certainly isn't going to happen with De Blasio in office.  After all, he ran on ending stop and frisk if elected.


AUDIO: Alan Dershowitz fact checks Lester Holt’s fact check on ‘Stop and Frisk’: http://hotair.com/archives/2016/09/27/audio-alan-dershowitz-fact-checks-lester-holts-fact-check-stop-frisk/

Terry vs. Ohio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_v._Ohio

‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Is All but Gone From New York: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/19/nyregion/stop-and-frisk-is-all-but-gone-from-new-york.html

Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/nyregion/stop-and-frisk-practice-violated-rights-judge-rules.html

Did Bill de Blasio Keep His Promise to Reform Stop-and-Frisk?: http://www.newsweek.com/did-bill-de-blasio-keep-his-promise-reform-stop-and-frisk-266310


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