Friday, August 17, 2012

Washington Supreme Court rules that school resource officer’s search of student’s locked backpack violated rights against unlawful search and seizure

State of Washington v. Meneese, No. 86203-6 (Wash. Aug. 2, 2012) (majority opinion); (dissenting opinion)

Abstract: In a 7-2 split, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has ruled that a school resource officer (SRO), who is a member of a local police department, violated a student’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the federal and state constitutions when he searched the student’s locked backpack after arresting the student and handcuffing him. The court’s majority concluded that the “school search” exception did not apply to the SRO’s search.

The majority reversed the intermediate appellate court’s decision upholding the trial court’s denial of the motion to suppress the air pistol discovered during the search. The majority concluded that the “school search” exception to the requirement for a warrant did not apply, because at the time the SRO executed the backpack search, he was acting as a police officer, and not a school official.

Read more HERE

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