Probable Cause

Probable Cause

Probable cause is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “sufficient reason based upon known facts to believe a crime has been committed or that certain property is connected with a crime.”  In other words, probable cause does not exist where a police officer or other agent of the law has a hunch or belief that there is or may be a good reason for an arrest.  The test for probable cause is not subjective, in other words.  If it were a subjective test, then the protection against searches and seizures would totally depend on what any police officer or agent of the law thought or felt at any given moment.  Probable cause really only exists where the facts would lead any reasonable person to think that a crime has been committed.  See Wayne R. LaFave & Jerold H. Israel.  Criminal Procedure § 3.3, at 140 (2d ed. 1992).  See also the Fourth Amendment.

Lessons from the Past

Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.

Calvin Coolidge

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