While a large percentage of police-citizen encounters may be classified readily as falling within the protections of the fourth amendment, a number of them are difficult to categorize. Since the decision in Terry v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court has been grappling with the issue of when such encounters do, in fact, mandate fourth amendment protection. The Court's most recent pronouncement in this area, Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Delgado, involved an Immigration and Naturalization Service factory sweep and the ensuing encounter between immigration officials and plant employees. In this significant and controversial opinion, the Court found that the Delgado encounter did not amount to a seizure and, therefore, did not merit fourth amendment protection, despite uncontroverted facts tending to establish the opposite result under pre-Delgado law. The opinion of the Court suggests that Delgado is merely an application of existing law to the factory survey scenario. However, the case may be viewed as a significant departure from Terry and its progeny, one that, in fact, creates a new standard for characterizing police-citizen encounters. This Article will review Terry and its aftermath vis-a-vis the police-citizen "encounter." It will then discuss the impact of the decision and the direction of the Court in the wake of Delgado.
Harry M. Caldwell, Seizures of the Fourth Kind: Changing the Rules, 33 Clev. St. L. Rev. 323 (1984-1985)