U.S. v Muhammad, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 9575 (May 11, 2010)
Under Terry, a law enforcement officer may conduct a warrantless pat-down search for the protection of himself or others nearby in order to discover weapons if he has a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the person may be armed and presently dangerous. An officer may, however, seize other evidence discovered during a pat-down search for weapons as long as the search stays within the bounds marked by Terry. Muhammad contends that because Agent McCrary knew that the object in Muhammad's back pocket was not a weapon or an object concealing a weapon, Agent McCrary could not lawfully remove the wallet from Muhammad's pocket. The record does not support this assertion. Agent McCrary testified that during a pat-down search it is often difficult to tell whether an object is a weapon or might conceal a weapon merely by touching the object. He stated that officers must generally "pull the suspicious object out and actually inspect it" to determine whether the object presents a safety concern. He further testified that he was not certain what the hard four-inch long and three-inch wide object in Muhammad's pocket was, but he said that the item "felt like an object that could conceal a weapon." This pat-down search stayed within the bounds of Terry, and the Fourth Amendment permitted Agent McCrary to remove the object from Muhammad’s pocket.