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NYPD Loses Stop and Frisk Case, Judge Orders City to Obey Constitution

End Stop & Frisk
Rev. Al Sharpton (wearing black hoodie) leads End Stop & Frisk march in New York.

The vast majority of the more then four million stop and frisks conducted by New York police on citizens over the last nine years have been unconstitutional, a Judge has ruled.

In her far-reaching decision issued today, Judge Shira Scheindlin appointed a independent monitor "who will oversee the reform process." The monitor is Peter Zimroth of the law firm Arnold & Roth LLC.

The city's widely-criticized stop and frisk policy is the main reason why New York leads the world in marijuana arrests (39,000 in 2012). When people are stopped - usually minorities - police often find small quantities of drugs during searches.

Scheindlin calls for the NYPD to "revise its policies and training regarding stop and frisk to adhere to Constitutional standards as well as New York state law. The Constitutional standards include the standards for: what constitutes a stop, when a stop may be conducted, when a frisk may be conducted, and when a search into clothing or any object found during a search may be conducted."

Scheindlin continues: "In order to conduct a stop, an officer must have individualized, reasonable suspicion that the person stopped has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. The officer must be able to articulate facts establishing a minimal level of objective justification for making the stop, which means more than an inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch… Moreover, no person may be stopped solely because he matches a vague or generalized - such as young black male 18 to 24 - without further detail or idicia of reliability."

However, Scheindlin stopped short of banning the stop and frisk policy altogether.

Read Scheindlin's decision here.

Update: On Oct. 31, the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals blocked Scheindlin's decision and removed her from the case, claiming that she failed to be impartial.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, editor-in-chief of Freedom Leaf, co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness, and the former editor of High Times.