Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980)

Author: U.S. Supreme Court

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Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980)

Reid v. Georgia

No. 79-448

Deeided June 30, 1980
448 U.S. 438



Upon his early morning arrival at the Atlanta Airport on a eommercial flight, petitioner was seen by a federal narcotics agent to look occasionally backward at a second man. Petitioner and the other man each carried a shoulder bag, and apparently had no other luggage. When the two men left the terminal together, the agent asked them for identification, and, after they had consented to a search of their persons and shoulder bags, petitioner tried to run away, and before being apprehended, abandoned his bag, which was subsequently found to contain cocaine. Prior to his trial on a charge of possessing cocaine, petitioner’s motion to suppress the cocaine was granted by the Gergia trial court, but the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the stop of petitioner was permissible, since he appeared to the agent to fit the so-called "drug courier profile."

Held: The agent could not, as a matter of law, have reasonably suspected petitioner of criminal activity on the basis of the observed circumstances. Only the fact that petitioner preceded another person and occasionally looked backward at him as they proceeded through the concourse relates to their particular conduct, whereas the other circumstances describe a very large category of presumably innocent travelers. The fact that the agent believed that petitioner and his companion were attempting to conceal the fact that they were traveling together is too slender a reed to support the seizure.

Certiorari granted; 149 Ga.App. 685, 255 S.E.2d 71, vacated and remanded.


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Chicago: U.S. Supreme Court, "Syllabus," Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980) in 448 U.S. 438 Original Sources, accessed August 9, 2022,

MLA: U.S. Supreme Court. "Syllabus." Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980), in 448 U.S. 438, Original Sources. 9 Aug. 2022.

Harvard: U.S. Supreme Court, 'Syllabus' in Reid v. Georgia, 448 U.S. 438 (1980). cited in 1980, 448 U.S. 438. Original Sources, retrieved 9 August 2022, from