E.D.Va.: A Terry stop can’t be used to investigate a completed misdemeanor (noting conflicting authorities)

This anonymous tip fails under Navarette because it permits stops on no reliable information at all. Moreover, a Terry stop cannot be used to investigate a completed misdemeanor (noting the circuits to the contrary). United States v. Beasley, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203273 (E.D. Va. Oct. 30, 2020):

Ultimately, the government asks the Court to condone Kolb and Lee seizing Beasley based on little more than an unreliable anonymous tip. When the officers seized Beasley, they did not know the basis of the tipster’s knowledge, her location, or the system she used to call in her tip. Nevertheless, they immediately seized Beasley upon arriving at the Lexington Park Apartments, even though a cursory observation of the scene would have contradicted the tipster’s “assertion of illegality.” J.L., 529 U.S. at 272. Upholding the constitutionality of this seizure would eviscerate the protections of the Fourth Amendment and “enable any person seeking to harass another to set in motion an intrusive, embarrassing police search of the targeted person simply by placing an anonymous call falsely reporting the target’s unlawful [brandishing] of a gun.” J.L., 529 U.S. at 272. The Court cannot allow this. Accordingly, it finds that the anonymous tip lacked “sufficient indicia of reliability to provide reasonable suspicion to make the investigatory stop.” White, 496 U.S. at 327.

. . .

Even if Kolb and Lee had reasonable suspicion to seize Beasley, they still could not have used a Terry stop in this case to investigate the completed misdemeanor that Beasley allegedly committed. Neither the Supreme Court nor the Fourth Circuit has ever decided whether the Fourth Amendment permits police officers to use a Terry stop to investigate a completed misdemeanor. See Navarette, 572 U.S. 402 n.2. The Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits have, however, with all four circuits “follow[ing] the Hensley facts-and-circumstances test.” Jones, 953 F.3d at 436. Additionally, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland has also used the Hensley test to evaluate the constitutionality of an investigatory stop for a completed misdemeanor. United States v. Jegede, 294 F. Supp. 2d 704, 708 (D. Md. 2003).

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