Cite as: 517 U. S. 690 (1996)
Opinion of the Court
16 F. 3d, at 719. The court found no clear error in the reasonable-suspicion analysis and affirmed that determination. Ibid. With respect to the probable-cause finding, however, the court remanded the case for a determination on whether Luedke was credible when testifying about the loose panel. Id., at 721-722.
On remand, the Magistrate Judge expressly found the testimony credible. The District Court accepted the finding, and once again ruled that probable cause supported the search. The Seventh Circuit held that determination not clearly erroneous. Judgt. order reported at 52 F. 3d 328 (1995).
We granted certiorari to resolve the conflict among the Circuits over the applicable standard of appellate review. 516 U. S. 963 (1996).4
Articulating precisely what "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" mean is not possible. They are common-sense, nontechnical conceptions that deal with " 'the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act.' " Illinois v. Gates, 462 U. S. 213, 231 (1983) (quoting Brinegar v. United States, 338 U. S. 160, 175 (1949)); see United States v. Sokolow, 490 U. S. 1, 7-8 (1989). As such, the standards are "not readily, or even usefully, reduced to a neat set of legal
error" is a term of art derived from Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and applies when reviewing questions of fact.
4 Compare, e. g., United States v. Puerta, 982 F. 2d 1297, 1300 (CA9 1992) (de novo review); United States v. Ramos, 933 F. 2d 968, 972 (CA11 1991) (same), cert. denied, 503 U. S. 908 (1992); United States v. Patrick, 899 F. 2d 169, 171 (CA2 1990) (same), with United States v. Spears, 965 F. 2d 262, 268-271 (CA7 1992) (clear error).
The United States, in accord with petitioners, contends that a de novo
standard of review should apply to determinations of probable cause and reasonable suspicion. We therefore invited Peter D. Isakoff to brief and argue this case as amicus curiae in support of the judgment below. 516 U. S. 1008 (1996). Mr. Isakoff accepted the appointment and has well fulfilled his assigned responsibility.
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