Ruling: High-Crime Areas, Others' Actions Don't OK Frisks

May 24, 2017

Credit Tucson Police Department

The Arizona Supreme Court says police can't frisk people just because they're in a high-crime neighborhood and with somebody else who runs off when police approach.

A unanimous decision issued Tuesday by the state high court overturns two lower court rulings and erases a man's misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction.

Phoenix police looking for a suspect did a pat-down of Anthony Primous when they approached him as he talked with three other men and sat with an infant on his lap. One of the four men ran off but none were the wanted suspect.

According to the decision, the pat-down of Primous that turned up a baggie of marijuana violated his Fourth Amendment privacy rights because Primous hadn't said or done anything indicating he was a possible threat to police.