New Jersey v TLO- Grp

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New Jersey v. T.L.O.  469 U.S. 325:

New Jersey v. T.L.O. 469 U.S. 325 Alexis Bogarin Brian Russell Brigette Raarup Chekesha George Sarah Vasquez Azusa Pacific University

. Case Scenario:

. Case Scenario New Jersey v. T.L.O

Historical Background:

Historical Background 4th Amendment Supreme Court has a long history of upholding the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Weeks v. United States , 1914 -Exclusionary Rule –illegally obtained evidence is not admissible in federal court.

Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O. :

On March 7, 1980 a teacher caught two freshman girls smoking in the restroom at Piscataway Township High School, in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The school provided a designated smoking area for students to smoke, but smoking in the restrooms was prohibited. The teacher took both students to the principal’s office where they were questioned about the smoking by assistant vice-principal Theodore Choplick . Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O.

Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O. :

T.L.O.’s friend admitted to smoking, but T.L.O. denied it. T.L.O.’s denial prompted assistant vice-principal Choplick to take her into his office to search her purse for cigarettes. While looking for the cigarettes to prove that T.L.O. was lying, he noticed a package of rolling papers which, based on his experience, was indicative of the use of marijuana. Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O.

Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O. :

Assistant vice-principal Theodore Choplick began a more thorough search of the contents of the purse. Where he found : Small amount of marijuana A pipe E mpty plastic bags A large quantity of money in $1 bills A n index card that appeared to list students who owed T.L.O. money T wo letters that implicated T.L.O. in dealing marijuana Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O.

Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O. :

Assistant vice-principal Theodore Choplick notifies T.L.O.’s mother of his findings and turns over evidence to the police. T.L.O.’s mother voluntarily takes T.L.O. to the police station where she confesses to selling marijuana at school. Circumstances of the Case: New Jersey v. T.L.O.

The Appellate Process:

The Appellate Process New Jersey v. T.L.O

New Jersey v. T.L.O

The court held that school officials may search a student’s personal belongings without probable cause and a search warrant without violating the Fourth Amendment. The trial court found that school officials may search a student’s personal belongings if there is reasonable cause to believe it is necessary to enforce school policies. Because the search here was reasonable, the Juvenile Court found T.L.O. guilty of delinquency and sentenced her to one year’s probation. T.L.O. appealed to the New Jersey Appellate Division New Jersey v. T.L.O / supct /html/ historics /html

New Jersey v. T.L.O

The delinquency charges were brought against T.L.O. in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in New Jersey. T.L.O. moved to suppress the evidence against her, arguing that the Vice Principal violated her Fourth Amendment rights by searching her purse without probable cause and a search warrant. The Juvenile Court denied that motion. T.L.O. appealed her conviction to the appellate division, which found no violation of the Fourth Amendment, but returned the case to juvenile court for determination of a possible Fifth Amendment problem with T.L.O.'s confession. T.L.O. then appealed the appellate division's Fourth Amendment ruling to the Supreme Court of New Jersey. New Jersey v. T.L.O / supct /html/ historics /html

New Jersey v. T.L.O

The Supreme Court of New Jersey reversed the appellate division's ruling and ordered the evidence found in T.L.O.'s purse suppressed. The New Jersey Court relied on Supreme Court of the United States precedent to hold that whenever an "official" search violates constitutional rights, the evidence may not be used in a criminal case. Furthermore, the Supreme Court of New Jersey found that Choplick's search was not reasonable. Mere possession of cigarettes was not a violation of school rules; therefore, a desire for evidence of smoking in the restroom did not justify the search. In addition, the further search of the purse was not justified by the presence of cigarette rolling papers. In 1983, the Supreme Court of the United States granted the State of New Jersey's petition for certiorari. In 1985, the Court handed down its decision . New Jersey v. T.L.O / supct /html/ historics /html

The Supreme Court Decision :

The Supreme Court Decision New Jersey vs. T.L.O.

The Supreme Court Decision:

The Supreme Court Decision On January 15, 1985, in the Supreme Court case New Jersey v. T.L.O., the Court ruled by a margin of 6-3 in favor of New Jersey. Justice Byron White wrote the Court's opinion. White recognized that students in public schools have a constitutional right to privacy under the 4th Amendment and that school officials are bound by constitutional restrictions. However, the opinion also states that the rights of children and adolescents are not the same as those of adults and that school officials have a responsibility to maintain the discipline necessary for education. “The school setting,” White wrote, “…requires some modification of the level of suspicion of illicit activity needed to justify a search. (Cornell Law). The rights of students must be balanced against the needs of the school setting.

Constitutional Issues:

Constitutional Issues The primary issues in the case were surrounded by the Fourth Amendment. Do students in school have the same rights under the 4th Amendment as adults? Does “probable cause” have to be established for the search of a student in school, or is “reasonable cause” enough?

Arguments in Favor of New Jersey:

Arguments in Favor of New Jersey One of the most profound arguments in support of the school’s search was the fact that while a student is in school “school officials act for the parents of students. Like parents, they do not need a warrant to make searches or seize evidence. School officials also must have broad powers to control student conduct, including the powers of search and seizure. T.L.O.'s behavior furnished a reasonable basis for the search of her purse; therefore, the exclusionary rule does not apply” (Cornell Law).

Arguments in Favor of T.L.O.:

Arguments in Favor of T.L.O. While the state of New Jersey based their argument on the fact that school officials are “acting parents” while students are on campus, the attorney’s for T.L.O. contended that “public school officials are employees of the State, not representatives of parents. They do not have the right to act as parents”. As a result of school officials being employees of the State, they are obligated to respect every student's rights, including his or her right to privacy. The search of T.L.O.'s purse and the seizure of its contents were unreasonable acts, which led to her confession; therefore, the exclusionary rule applies.

Rationale of the Decision:

Rationale of the Decision Justice White acknowledged that under most circumstances “probable cause” that a violation has occurred must exist. However, in this case White agreed with a lower court finding that a “school official may properly conduct a search of a student's person if the official has a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, or reasonable cause to believe that the search is necessary to maintain school discipline.” In other words, in a school, a search could be reasonable under the 4th Amendment without probable cause, so long as it was supported by reasonable suspicion or reasonable cause. The assistant vice-principal's search was considered reasonable under this definition.


Dissention In his partial dissent, Justice William Brennan wrote that the “decision sanctions school officials to conduct full scale searches on a 'reasonableness' standard whose only definite content is that it is not the same test as the 'probable cause' standard found in the text of the Fourth Amendment.” In other words, he was concerned that the unclear distinction between “probable” and “reasonable” cause would discourage teachers from carrying out permissible searches.

Conclusion: Setting A Precedence:

Conclusion: Setting A Precedence The Court's decision in New Jersey vs. T.L.O. would serve as a model in cases to come. In Bethel School District vs.. Fraser, 1986, the Court upheld school disciplinary action taken against a student who delivered a sexually explicit speech nominating a fellow student for elective office. Although the case dealt with 1st Amendment protections rather than those of the 4th Amendment, the Court based the decision on the following: “In New Jersey vs.. T.L.O. (1985)… we reaffirmed that the constitutional rights of students in public school are not automatically coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings.” In the 1990s, the T.L.O. decision was used a number of times in Supreme Court cases to allow the use of metal detectors and protective searches in schools. The Court has also used the case in issues concerning searches and scanning in airport and highway checkpoints for drunk drivers. New Jersey vs. T.L.O. has been more influential than many presumed.

Application to Educational Administration :

Application to Educational Administration New Jersey v. T.L.O

Application to Educational Administration :

Application to Educational Administration EC 49050: Protection of the health, safety and welfare of students and staff. School officials may search students, their property and district property under their control and may seize illegal unsafe and prohibited items. EC 49050: Employees shall not conduct strip searches or body cavity searches of any student . The principal or designee may conduct a general inspection of school properties that are within the control of students, such as lockers and desks, or on a regular, announced basis, with students standing by their assigned lockers or desks. Any items contained in a locker or desk shall be considered to be the property of the student to whom the locker or desk was assigned . AR 5145.12: Notifications: At the beginning of each school year and whenever students are assigned lockers, desks or other district property, the Superintendent or Designee shall inform students and parents/ guardians of the possibility of random searches of students, their belongings and district properties under their control. How The New Jersey vs. T.L.O case applies to Education Administration: Each administrator needs to know their rights and the Board policies of the district they are employed b y.

Application to Educational Administration :

Application to Educational Administration Scenario: Two weeks prior to graduation the student body president was is also in honors classes, is brought into the vice principal’s office by a campus security officer due to claims from another student stating that the president was attempting to sell her drugs inside the girls’ restroom. Upon entering the restroom, the CSO did uncover a small amount of marijuana as the student was scrambling to dispose of it. What steps would you take to deal with this situation? Steps taken : A call to school police was issued to test the substance in the bag Because there was probable cause, school police also searched the remainder of her belongings and her personal items. District reports and statements were written down by each staff member involved Written statements from both students were received A call home notifying parent or guardian was made Student was issued a mandatory 5 day suspension due to possession of illegal substance Mandatory drug counseling was assigned to the student The Senior Contract that was signed earlier in semester by the parent and student was reviewed to determine student’s ability to participate in the graduation ceremony, grad night and other graduation activities.

Application to Educational Administration:

Application to Educational Administration What factors would you consider in your decision to allow her to continue as the president of ASB ? Factors considered : A review of the school and district policies A review of the contract/expectations of ASB The student’s discipline record Conclusion: School officials act for the parents of students. Like parents, they do not need a warrant to make searches or seize evidence. School officials also must have broad powers to control student conduct, including the powers of search and seizure. The ASB president in this scenario, provided administration a reasonable basis to be searched by having the substance in plain sight. In essence: Know your contract … Know your rights…Know the students rights


469 U.S. 325 New Jersey V. T.L.O. Certiorari to the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Legal Information Institute . Retrieved February 27, 2013 from http :// Daniel , E. Brannen . & Richard Clay Hanes . (2006). New Jersey v. T.L.O. (Supreme Court Drama). ENotes . Retrieved February 23, 2013 from http:// reference References


References New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) Student Search & Seizure. Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court. Retrieved February 27, 2013 from http:// New Jersey v. T.L.O. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago- Kent College of Law. Retrieved March 2, 2013 from 1989/1983/1983_83_7 12


New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985). Infoplease . Retrieved February 23, 2013 from http :// court/cases/a r24.html Random Searches. San Bernardino City Unified School District. Retrieved March 2, 2013 from References


References Search and Seizures. Gamut Online. Retrieved March 2, 2013 from http:// 4/5 Supreme Court Decisions. Cathedral High School: Advance Placement United States Government and Politics . Retrieved March 2, 2013 from http ://

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