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ADAMS V. WILLIAMS, 407 U. S. 143 (1972)

U.S. Supreme Court

Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143 (1972)

Adams v. Williams

No. 70-283

Argued April 10, 1972

Decided June 12, 1972

407 U.S. 143


Acting on a tip supplied moments earlier by an informant known to him, a police officer asked respondent to open his car door. Respondent lowered the window, and the officer reached into the car and found a loaded handgun (which had not been visible from the outside) in respondent's waistband, precisely where the informant said it would be. Respondent was arrested for unlawful possession of the handgun. A search incident to the arrest disclosed heroin on respondent's person (as the informant had reported), as well as other contraband in the car. Respondent's petition for federal habeas corpus relief was denied by the District Court. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the evidence that had been used in the trial resulting in respondent's conviction had been obtained by an unlawful search.

Held: As Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1, recognizes, a policeman making a reasonable investigatory stop may conduct a limited protective search for concealed weapons when he has reason to believe that the suspect is armed and dangerous. Here, the information from the informant had enough indicia of reliability to justify the officer's forcible stop of petitioner and the protective seizure of the weapon, which afforded reasonable ground for the search incident to the arrest that ensued. Pp. 407 U. S. 145-149.

441 F.2d 394, reversed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and STEWART, WHITE, BLACKMUN, and POWELL, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 407 U. S. 149. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 407 U. S. 151. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which DOUGLAS, J., joined, post, p. 407 U. S. 153.

Page 407 U. S. 144

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