Having finished Soukaneh v. Andrzejewski: CT Is a Gun Probable Cause for a Search? I had a long think as to what the Second Amendment implications were. It doesn’t seem to directly relate to Second Amendment issues.

First we have a situation where a cops qualified immunity was stripped from him at the district court level. This is huge. It happens so seldom as to make the news almost every time it happens. Second it is a balancing question regarding “officer safety” v. our right to be left alone.

The controlling case law seems to be Terry v. Ohio, 392 US 1 – Supreme Court 1968.

In an 8-to-1 decision, the Court held that the search undertaken by the officer was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment and that the weapons seized could be introduced into evidence against Terry. Attempting to focus narrowly on the facts of this particular case, the Court found that the officer acted on more than a “hunch” and that “a reasonably prudent man would have been warranted in believing [Terry] was armed and thus presented a threat to the officer’s safety while he was investigating his suspicious behavior.” The Court found that the searches undertaken were limited in scope and designed to protect the officer’s safety incident to the investigation.
Terry v. Ohio – Oyez

The gist of a “Terry Stop” is that upon reasonable suspicion(Note that this might not be the correct term, IANAL) an officer of the law can stop and briefly detain and frisk a person looking for weapons, “for officer safety”.

The courts, over time, have established pretty good case law in regards to Terry Stops. It is clear that the “frisk” can not be intrusive. For example, an officer can not remove your wallet from you and remove your ID from that wallet during a “frisk”. If the officer does detect a weapon during the frisk they can do other things for officer safety.

The question in this case was would a reasonably prudent man have been warranted in believing that the plaintiff (good guy) was armed and presented a threat to the officer’s safety. Id. quoting Terry

In my state and most reasonable states a person who is friendly and present a permit to carry is assumed to be on the “right side of the law.” The possession of the firearm is a normal thing. If there is no other interaction that should be enough to remove presented a threat to the officer’s safety Id. from the equation.

In this case the officer admits he went past the bounds of a Terry Stop. He argues that because he hadn’t verified the permit that he was justified in assuming that the firearm was illegally possessed in a car and that allowed him to continue his warrantless search.

Post Bruen we should be seeing more permits issued and more people legally carrying firearms. It then becomes a cultural issue of teaching the public and officers to not over react when they see a firearm. In places like NY, CT, NJ, and CT that is going to take a long time.

Years ago in Maryland we were driving a two lane back road to a friends home. We passed a person walking on the shoulder of the road with a long gun. I mentally identified the guy as a “hunter” and didn’t think anything of it.

About two hours later we were on our way back home and about the same place as I had spotted the hunter there were a half dozen cop cars and lots of cops. The hunter was sitting on the side of the road in cuffs and it looked like a search was underway.

Turns out that he was a hunter, he had left the woods and was just walking back to his car in the easiest way possible.

The culture of Maryland was that a person with a gun was bad. Orange cap and bolt action rifle wasn’t enough to make it the default that he was a good person. The default is always that owning a gun or having a gun on your person meant that you were bad.

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By awa

4 thoughts on “<i>Soukaneh v. Andrzejewski</i> why is it of interest?”
  1. In CT we haven’t had the impediment to getting permits that CA, MA, NY, and NJ have long had.
    Culture is a problem though even though for a long time our carry laws were better than even Texas or Florida. Unfortunately the legislature is seeking to undo that even more with our latest round of bullshit.

      1. You got it. We still are technically may issue regardless of practice or what any CCW map will tell you; there is a good moral character or some such clause but it never gets used, like ever surprisingly. We also have time limits forcing issuance (that are not enforced, shocker I know). My permit took 9 months to approve even though it is IIRC of the top of my head 30 days.
        One kind of nice thing we do have is the permit review board that has “civilian” membership. Generally if a case is brought against them they tend to rule in the favor of the person seeking a permit or who had it revoked etc.

  2. Decades of liberal screaming about “evil” firearms and media always showing the regular guy with a gun is bad and its what you get- extremely over reaction to anyone with a firearm..

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