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United States V. Sharpe

             Facts: There is a question of whether the stop and arrest of Sharp was lawful. A DEA agent (Cook) was patrolling an area near Sunset Beach, North Carolina for suspected drug trafficking. They were headed to South Carolina. Agent Cook noticed an overloaded pickup truck with an attached camper traveling in tandem with a Pontiac Bonneville. After observing this he decided to make an "investigative stop" so he radioed a South Carolina Patrol officer who then joined them in the following of the two vehicles. Once they began to make the stop the Pontiac pulled over and the truck kept on going and began a pursuit. Fifteen minutes later the DEA agent joined the highway patrol officer and found a significant amount of marijuana in the back of the truck. The driver of the truck and Sharp were both arrested. .
             Issues: In the case of United States V. Sharp the court examines "whether the officer's action was justified at its inception, and whether it was reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place? Also to assess whether a detention is too long in duration to be justified as an investigative stop, and to examine whether the police diligently pursued a means of investigation that was likely to confirm or dispel their suspicions quickly, during which time it was necessary to detain the defendant.
             Decisions: Reversed and Remanded.
             Reasoning: 1. The court concluded that given the circumstances given to him, Agent Cooke pursued his investigation in a diligent and reasonable manner.
             2. This case does not involve and delay unnecessary to the legitimate investigation of the law enforcement officers.
             3. The courts reject the contention that a 20-minute stop is unreasonable when the police have acted diligently and a suspects actions contribute to the added delay about which he complains.
             Separate Opinions: The court granted certiorari on June 18, 1984.

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