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NCJ Number: 137134 Find in a Library
Title: Justifying Searches on the Basis of Equality of Treatment
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:82  Issue:3  Dated:(Fall 1991)  Pages:547-578
Author(s): R L Misner
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 32
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: As the U.S. Supreme Court places greater emphasis on equality of treatment as a factor in determining the reasonableness of search and seizure, it is envisioned that respect for individual privacy interests will be enhanced in some situations.
Abstract: Equality of treatment has been used in drug testing and sobriety checkpoint cases as a weighty factor in determining whether an intrusion by the State into an individual's privacy is justified. A constitutional approach toward search and seizure that centers on equality of treatment is not without advantages. For example, it is easier to judge a police practice by its uniformity of application than by its conformity to a nebulous constitutional mandate regarding privacy. In addition, the tendency to view the fourth amendment more as a means of guaranteeing equal treatment than as a source of substantive privacy rights is given impetus by the U.S. Supreme Court's role since Brown v. Board of Education. A review of U.S. Supreme Court decisions indicates that the reality of privacy protection will depend on whether the court is willing to carefully review the likelihood that police guidelines actually limit officer discretion. It is also predicted that the court's emphasis on equality of application will continue to denigrate privacy interests when equality of application is used to justify the initial intrusion. Nonetheless, the fourth amendment protects privacy and does not simply guarantee procedural regularity. 242 footnotes
Main Term(s): Search and seizure
Index Term(s): Equal Protection; Police discretion; Right of privacy; US Supreme Court decisions
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