Chapter 7 ? Special Needs Searches Special Needs Searches USSC has applied the 4th Amendment to a wide range of searches that goes beyond criminal law enforcement to ?meet special needs?; they include: Inventory Searches- documenting inventory searches of prisons and containers in government custody to protect the owners from theft and damage, government agencies from lawsuit, and jails from danger International Border Searches- checks to control who and what comes into and goes out of the county Airport Searches- examining airport passengers and their baggage to protect the safety of the travelers Custody-Related Searches- searching prisoners, probationers, parolees, and visitors and employees of prisons and jails to control contraband Student Searches- searching students to maintain a thriving learning environment Employee Drug Testing- testing employees for drug use to increase the workplace safety Other special needs searches include ?inspecting? businesses, such as restaurants and bars, to make sure they are complying with health and safety codes and conducting vehicle safety checks to make roads safer The variety of special needs searches shouldn?t hide their four common characteristics: 1. They?re directed at people generally, not criminal suspects and defendants specifically 2. They can result in criminal prosecution and conviction 3. They don?t require warrants or probable cause 4. The reasonableness depends on balancing special government needs against invasion of an individuals privacy Inventory Searches Consists of making a list of peoples personal property and containers held in government custody Containers include vehicles, purses, clothing, or anything else where people in custody might put their ?stuff? After looking through (?searching?) the containers, officials make a list of items and put them away (?seize?) for safe keeping The reasonableness of an inventory search depends on satisfying to elements: balancing interests and objective basis Balancing Interests Officers take inventory to satisfy three government interests that aren?t directly connected to searching for evidence of a crime 1. To protect owners ?stuff? while its in police custody 2. To protect agencies against lawsuits for the loss, destruction, or theft of owners stuff 3. To protect officers, detain suspects and offenders from the danger of bombs, weapons, illegal drugs that might be hidden Objective Basis According to USSC, inventories taken by officers are 4th Amendment searches, but they are reasonable without either probable cause or warrants because they aren?t searches for gathering evidence to prosecute a crime Isn?t left entirely to officers discretion though Requirement that officers follow written, departmental procedures when conducting inventory searches are called routine-procedure limits International Border Searches According to the USSC, searches at international borders are reasonable even without warrants or probable cause; known as the border search exception The special need of border searches is the right to control who and what comes in and goes out of the country Applying the balancing test to border searches, the USSC found that the national interest of controlling international borders outweighs the invasion of individual privacy Reasonable suspicion is requited to back up strip searches for contraband and weapons Probable cause is required for body-cavity searches Airport Searches Applying the balancing test of 4th Amendment reasonableness, the USSC has held that airport searches are reasonable even without warrants or probable cause These searches serve two extremely important special needs: the safety and security of airport travelers These special needs clearly outweighs the minimal invasion of privacy Passengers are free not to board if they don?t want to subject themselves or their luggage to searches Custody-Related Searches Prisoners and their cells; prison visitors and employees; prisoners released on parole; probationers who could be but aren?t locked up; and even defendants detained before they?re convicted all can be searched without warrants or probable cause and sometime without any individualized suspicion at all because the special need to maintain safety, security, and discipline over people incarcerated, probationers and paroles under supervision in the community outweighs privacy Prisoners Historically, prisoners had no 4th Amendment rights; it ended at the prison gates In the 1980s, the courts held that prisoners have an expectation of privacy that society recognizes The reasonableness of prisoner searches depends on balancing the need to maintain prison and jail security, safety, and discipline against the invasion of prisoners substantially reduced reasonable exception of privacy The court ruled that the 4th Amendment doesn?t apply even if the motif of a shakedown was harassment Strip and Body-Cavity Searches The USSC held that full-body, strip, and body-cavity searches are 4th Amendment searches, but they are reasonable without either warrants or probable cause if, in the particular situation, the need for security, safety, or discipline outweighs prisoners? reasonable expectation of privacy Sometimes, the balance between the special need and individual privacy weighs in favor of the prisoner Testing and Story DNA Every state and the federal government now has a statute that mandates DNA testing of all incarcerated felons Courts have defines the testing and storing of DNA as 4th Amendment search and seizures The USSC has not ruled yet on the reasonableness of the testing, but the 11th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals upheld Georgia?s statute: Requires convicted, incarcerated felons to provide a sample of their DNA DNA profiles can be released from the data bank to federal, state, and local law enforcement officers upon a request made in furtherance of an official investigation of any criminal offense Probationers and Parolees They also have diminished 4th Amendment rights, even though they aren?t locked up Their reduced expectation of privacy subjects them to arrest and searches of their persons, their vehicles, and their houses without warrants or probable cause because they are still in the states custody and that a conditional release is a privilege, not a right Other courts adopt a balancing approach to the searches of them: On the special need side is the governments interest in protecting society and reducing recidivism On the other side is the privacy and right against unreasonable search and seizures Probationers Probation officers can search probationers? homes without warrants as long as they?re backed up by reasonable suspicion Employees Drug Searches Searches to uncover employee drug use through drug testing are directed at the special need to reduce the danger to public safety caused by pilots, bus drivers, railway engineers, and others who work while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs Meeting this need obviously conflicts with their privacy granted to them Testing blood, breath, and urine of public employees, in accordance with administrative regulations, without warrants or individualized suspicion, is reasonable Student Searches According to the legal doctrine in loco parentis, school officials are substitute parents while student are in school Inspections of students and their staff during school hours and activities are searches To determine whether they are reasonable searches, courts weigh the special need for schools to maintain an environment where learning can thrive against students privacy School official don?t have to get warrants and they don?t need probable cause before searching students; reasonable suspicion is enough Drug Testing of High-School Students Random drug testing of all students voluntarily participating in a schools athletic program is reasonable School policy requires all student participating in school sports to sign a form consenting to urine drug testing; parental consent is also required To determine reasonableness, the court balanced the competing interests: on the privacy side, high school students have a lesser expectation of privacy than adults. On the special needs side, the court calls the governments interest in deterring drug use by school kids important and compelling No warrants is needed nor is individualized suspicion Searches of College Students Most searches are in dorm rooms and law enforcement participate in these searches They are older and entitled to a greater expectation of privacy according to Commonwealth v. Neilson
Want to see the other 5 page(s) in Chapter 7 notes?JOIN TODAY FOR FREE!