Washington Law Review


In State v. Williams the Washington Supreme Court attempted to set forth specific criteria for determining when a temporary detention exceeds the bounds of a Terry stop and becomes an arrest, with the concomitant probable cause requirement. The court relied on both the fourth amendment and article 1, section 7 of the state constitution as the bases for its standards. The holding, however, is fact-specific, and the court's discussion of the permissible scope and intensity of an investigatory stop does not adequately establish guidelines for the police to apply in a future situation. Further, because the court did not ground its decision firmly in state law, the limits of an investigatory stop in Washington may be modified by future federal rulings.

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