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Law and Race Commons

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University of Nevada, Las Vegas -- William S. Boyd School of Law

2003

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Cultural Context Matters: Terry's "Seesaw Effect", Frank Rudy Cooper Jan 2003

Cultural Context Matters: Terry's "Seesaw Effect", Frank Rudy Cooper

Scholarly Works

This Article investigates why the enforcement of a given legal doctrine may vary with changes in the cultural context in which it is applied. It argues that officials apply the law along an "enforcement practices continuum" in accord with changes in the prevailing articulations of the meaning of cultural identity norms associating particular groups with crime.

Terry v. Ohio doctrine allows police officers to make "stops" and "frisks" of limited scope upon reasonable suspicion of crime rather than requiring the higher standard of probable cause. The Article contends the officer discretion resulting from this "scope continuum" approach permits cultural identity ...