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Search & Seizure In The United States: An Unbiased Guide

2797 words - 11 pages

David PhillipsU.S. GovernmentSearch & Seizure in the United StatesA Non-Partisan GuideIn the Constitution of the United States of America, the Founding Fathers specified, in the first ten amendments, known as The Bill of Rights, specifically in the Fourth Amendment,"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (JusticeLearning)Many people take this for granted, thinking that the meaning of this text is simply that police officers barging into their house and rummaging through their personal belongings will be illegal; however, most people would be surprised to learn the far-reaching implications of this amendment, and how it doesn't apply simply to police officers, but to many other people in their lives. The main sections of the Fourth Amendment that come under the courts' review are the phrases of person, houses, papers, and effects, unreasonable searches and seizures, and probable cause. Each of the following Supreme Court cases deals with one (or more) of these wordings which are subject to interpretation.A search and seizure court case in Arizona has been working its way up the judicial ladder for more than six years. In 2003 a 13-year-old junior-high girl, Savana Redding, was accused of having not turned in a bottle of prescription-strength Ibuprofen to the school nurse, and instead allowing it to remain in her possession throughout the day. When school officials learned of this from one of her classmates, they called her to the front office of the school and proceeded to search her belongings, finding nothing before sending her to a private room where a female secretary and the school nurse asked her to remove her clothes and even pull aside her undergarments so as to check for the prescription drugs. The actions of those administrators and officials have been under heavy scrutiny by the general public, with people stating that even though they were under the assumption that Savana was believed to have drugs, the boundary line was crossed when administrators conducted the strip search. The argument furthers when evidence that the principal did not even bother to search the girl's locker before conducting the invasive search. However, the school counters by saying that their actions were fully justified, as probable cause had been attained when Savana's classmate tipped them off to her possession of the Ibuprofen. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, in a majority ruling, stated that the administration at this school had violated the fourth amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. (Adam, L.) However, the school district decided to appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court, the outcome of...

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