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NCJ Number: 77838 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Decriminalization - A New Consideration for the Fourth Amendment Balance
Journal: Maine Law Review  Volume:31  Dated:(1980)  Pages:375-405
Author(s): Anonymous
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The nature of the civil violation of the fourth amendment in Maine and some of the intrusions which might be used in the enforcement of civil violations are examined, so as to determine whether searches and seizures are a permissible method of enforcement.
Abstract: The fourth amendment's prohibition against arbitrary governmental intrusions upon privacy is clearly relevant to the proper methods for enforcing civil violations. Although for some civil violations, it is unclear whether any search or seizure may be used as an enforcement measure, the more complex problem involves the delineation of the standards governing the reasonableness of civil violation searches. Technical civil-criminal distinctions have usually been avoided by the Supreme Court. The same process of evaluating the nature of the societal and individual interests and then weighing them to determine the reasonableness of the type and scope of intrusion has been applied to both 'criminal' and 'noncriminal' searches. Still, explicit legislative guidelines are critical in order to prevent abuse of discretion by investigative officers and to give decriminalization its fullest meaning with respect to civil violations. An approach is suggested both for the judicial evaluation of the reasonableness of searches in terms of the probable cause and warrant requirements and for the legislative delineation of guidelines to limit the intrusiveness of civil violation enforcement efforts. The context of vehicle stops and attendant searches is used to illustrate the problems that await such judicial or legislative solution. A total of 152 footnotes are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Decriminalization; Judicial decisions; Legislation; Maine; Search and seizure; US Supreme Court
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