McCoy v. United States

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner (on Petition for a Writ of Certiorari).

Brief filed: 01/27/2020


McCoy v. United States

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 19-814

Prior Decision

Decision below 773 Fed.Appx. 164 (4th Cir. July 12, 2019)


The Fourth Circuit’s holding in this matter warrants review for the additional and important reason that that it allows officers to conduct searches for weapons despite the fact that the officers’ reasonable suspicion went only to drug use. Blanket rules of reasonable suspicion based upon drug use alone violate this Court’s precedent and the Fourth Amendment, which require greater respect for individual liberty from search and seizure. Moreover, as this Court articulated in Richards v. Wisconsin, stereotypical inferences about drug use and firearm risk create both “over-generalization” and bootstrapping concerns that would allow the reasonable suspicion requirement to expand so broadly that it would provide no meaningful check on potential Fourth Amendment violations. Finally, the Fourth Circuit’s holding denies Petitioner independent appellate review (i.e., without deference to the trial court determination) of ultimate determinations of reasonable suspicion, as this Court requires pursuant to Ornelas v. United States.


John Wesley Hall, Jr., NACDL, Little Rock, AR; Jeffrey T. Green, NACDL, Washington, DC.

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