Individual Rights Vs Special Needs Of State

Individual Rights Vs. Special Needs Of State Essay, Research Paper

(Wisconsin) regulation forbids a probationer to posses a firearm without probation officer s advance approval (Syllabus, pg.3165). Petitioner Joseph G. Griffin was convicted of a felony and was on probation when his house was searched for a firearm without a warrant. Wisconsin regulation says probationer s home (probationer being a special needs case) can be searched without a warrant on the basis of reasonable grounds as opposed to probable cause. The probation officer came to the reasonable grounds conclusion because of an anonymous police tip. Griffin contended that his fourth amendment rights had been violated due to reasonableness, or lack there of, of a warrantless search, Probationer s home, like anyone else s is protected by the Fourth

Amendment s requirement that searches be reasonable, (U.S.C.A. Const. Amend. 4, pg. 3165). The Supreme Court said that reasonable grounds satisfied the Fourth

Amendment’s reasonableness standard for a search, A State s operation of a probation system, like its operation of a school, government office or prison, or its supervision of a regulated industry, likewise presents special needs beyond normal law enforcement that may justify departures from the usual warrant and probable-cause requirements, (Scalia, pg. 3168). The Court noted, A warrant requirement would interfere to an appreciable degree with the probation system , setting up a magistrate rather than the probation officer

as the judge of how close a supervision the probationer requires, (Scalia, pg.. 3170). The Supreme Court ruled five to four in favor of, any search of a probationer s home by a probation officer is lawful when there are reasonable grounds to believe contraband is

present, (Scalia, pg. 3172).

The conflict in this case is individual s needs, i.e.. privacy, versus that of public interest, i.e.. safety. The question the Supreme Court is asking is; In special needs cases, should there be a lowering of standards from probable cause to reasonable grounds, allowing for there to be a warrantless search? And they answer yes, by upholding Wisconsin Courts ruling that probation diminishes a probationer s reasonable expectation of privacy. The Supreme Court says this meets the Fourth Amendments standards of reasonable searches and seizures because We think it clear that the special needs of

Wisconsin s probation system make the warrant requirement impracticable and justify replacement of the standard of probable cause by reasonable grounds, (Scalia, pg. 3170). So the new rule formed in this case is that in special needs cases probable cause warrants a search, we have permitted exceptions (to searches without warrants) when special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impractical, (Scalia, pg. 3168).

Plaintiffs Romo, and Gardner were stopped at a roadblock near a correctional center on their way to visit Ms. Romo s husband, an inmate. The roadblock was on access road outside of prison grounds, but the road lead only to the prison parking lot. At the roadblock Ms. Romo was asked to turn off her ignition, open the doors and trunk to her car, and return to her seat while a drug interdiction canine, (Tacha, pg. 1015) sniffed the vehicle. The dog indicated that Ms. Romo had drugs on her. She was then asked to consent to a strip search, which she did, and it was found that she was in the possession of

marijuana. Plaintiffs were granted summary judgment. They contended that their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures was violated. Their claim was that the initial stopping of their car at the roadblock was an unconstitutional seizure. Second, they claim that the search and canine sniff of their vehicle and the sniff of their bodies at the roadblock were unconstitutional searches. Finally, they assert that the strip search of Ms. Romo was unconstitutional because the officers obtained her consent coercively, (Tacha, pg. 1015). On the roadblock discrepancy, Judge Tacha said,

Because of it s location, defendants roadblock only stopped motorists attempting to enter the Dick Conner Correctional Center; it therefore served as an element of the prison s overall security operation, (Pg. 1015). Tacha goes on to say prison authorities, (citing Newman v. Alabama, 559 F. 2d 283, 291 (5th Cir. 1977)), prime consideration is the preservation of the safety and security of the prison, which includes the duty to intercept narcotics and other harmful contraband, (Pg. 1015) being smuggled, by visitors, into prison facilities. Tacha concludes, on this point, The public interest in keeping drugs out of prisons and maintaining prison security is substantial, the roadblock was reasonably tailored to achieve these objectives, and the interference with plaintiffs individual liberty was not significant, (Pg. 1016). On the strip search Tacha said that even if the Plaintiff was coerced into signing a paper granting the police permission to strip search her, that s

irrelevant, because, this court has ruled in Boren that a strip search of a prison visitor supported by reasonable suspicion is constitutionally permissible, (Pg. 1020). This court has held in several cases that a dog alert without more (creates) probable cause for searches and seizures, (Tacha, pg..1020). On the matter of the search at the roadblock, in which the plaintiffs said was an unreasonable search prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, (Tacha, pg. 1016), Tacha says Government officials need probable cause to conduct a search, however, (Pg. 1017) (then he goes on to quote Griffin v. Wisconsin)

when special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impracticable, (Pg. 1017). Tacha concludes, As this court stated in Dunn, (t)he government s interest in the operation of a prison presents special needs beyond law enforcement that may justify departures from the usual warrant and probable-cause requirements, (Pg. 1017). So in the end For these reasons, we find no error in the district court s order granting defendants motion for summary judgment. AFFIRMED, (Tacha, pg. 1020).

In Romo v. Champion Judge Tacha asserted that There can be little doubt that the search conducted by defendants in this case was executed pursuant to special needs ( duty to intercept and exclude by all reasonable means all contraband smuggled into the facility, (Hunter v. Anger, 672 F.2d 668. 674 (8th Cir. 1982))) independent of traditional criminal law enforcement, (Pg. 1017). By showing that visiting a prison is a special need of the state and citing Griffin v. Romo, when special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impractical, Tacha is saying that the search of the plaintiff s car was reasonable according to the Fourth Amendment.


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