Generally, warrantless seizures are unconstitutional unless an exception applies. One such exception is a Terry stop. A defendant recently challenged evidence found in a search after what the state agreed was a Terry stop in a Washington criminal case.
A sheriff deputy was dispatched after a 911 call reporting an unwanted person in the caller’s home. The caller told the dispatcher the woman’s first name and said he had previously allowed her to stay there, but she was not welcome any more. He reported she had left, but then said she came back. He also said she had previously climbed in through a window to get inside. He did not indicate she was violent.
The deputy saw a woman matching the description the caller gave walking about two-tenths of a mile from the caller’s home. He stopped, and when he asked, the woman indicated her first name was the name given by the caller. The deputy asked her for identification, but she indicated she did not have any. She provided her name and birth date. The woman stayed in front of his car and its headlights while the deputy searched her name in his computer. The deputy confirmed she had an outstanding warrant. He arrested her and found a white powdery substance in a baggie in her pocket. The substance was found to be methamphetamine.