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Case / Legal Brief for Adams V. Williams ( 407 U.S. 143 ( 1972 ))

Updated on July 16, 2012


This case deals with Adam Versus Williams Case number 407 U.S. 143 . I will be posting a Case brief below on how to summarize this case.

case brief

Case: Adams V. Williams Citation:

407 U.S. 143 (1972)

Illustration: This case deals with whether officers had a reliable information to perform a search and seizure on the suspect.

Facts: Police Sgt. John Connolly was on car patrol early in the morning in a high crime area in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At approximately 2:15 A.M. a person know to Sgt. Connolly informed him that an individual in a nearby vehicle was carrying narcotics, and a gun at his waist. Sgt. Connolly called for backup, and proceeded to the vehicle where he tapped on the window, and asked Robert Williams to open the door, instead he had rolled down the window, where Sgt Connolly had reached in and removed the loaded gun from the waist of Mr. Williams. After a search was done once officers arrived, substantial amount of drugs, and another weapon was found inside the car.

Prior Proceedings: The history is as follows. Robert Williams was convicted in a Connecticut State court of illegal possession of a handgun, as well as possession of heroin. The conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Connecticut. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Certiorari. Williams’ petition for federal habeas corpus relief was denied by the District Court and by a divided panel of the Second Circuit, but on rehearing en banc the Court of Appeals granted relief. The Supreme Court, reverses based on the police officers actions.

Opinion: The United States Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals granting relief to Mr Williams. Their decision solely relies on the fact that Sgt. Connolly’s search and seizure conformed to the standards the court has laid down in Terry V. Ohio, therefore it was reversed. That the officer received reliable information from a known informant, that allowed him to have probable cause to search Mr. Williams for a known weapon on his waist.

What could change the case: The case could have been changed if the officer did not have a statement from the informant with a direct location of the said weapon. If it was merely known that there was a weapon, and not a location, this could have changed the ruling in the case.


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