Criminal Justice: Frisk & Find

One warm July afternoon in 1964, off-duty New York City Policeman Samuel Lasky heard a noise outside his apartment door in suburban Mount Vernon. Two strangers were tiptoeing down the hall. Lasky hurriedly grabbed his pistol and managed to collar one, John F. Peters, who protested that he was merely visiting a married girl friend in the building. Not impressed, Lasky frisked Peters and felt something that "could have been a knife." What Lasky actually found was an envelope containing burglar's tools—for possession of which Peters was duly convicted.

Most citizens would surely agree that Patrolman Lasky was the model...