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New Jersey V.S T.L.O.


New Jersey V.S T.L.O. Argued March 28, 1984 Reargued Oct 2, 1984 Decided Jan 15, 1985 Cases prior In Weeks v. United States, 1914, the Court ruled that evidence ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: New Jersey V.S T.L.O.

New Jersey V.S T.L.O.
  • Argued March 28, 1984
  • Reargued Oct 2, 1984
  • Decided Jan 15, 1985

Cases prior
  • In Weeks v. United States, 1914, the Court ruled
    that evidence obtained by police illegally is not
    admissible in federal courta practice known as
    the exclusionary rule.
  • The Court decided that such evidence is also
    inadmissible in State courts in Mapp v. Ohio,
  • The Supreme Court extended 4th Amendment
    protections to include not only tangible property
  • Also intangible items obtained without a warrant,
    such as phone conversations (Katz v. United
    States, 1967).
  • However, the 4th Amendment does not apply to such
    items as garbage placed on a curb (California v.
    Greenwood, 1988)

Constitutional issue
  • T.L.O. or Tracey Lois Odem tried to convince a
    jury that her 4th amendment was violated.
  • The 4th amendment is '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.'

  • In 1980, a teacher at Piscataway High School in
    Middlesex County, New Jersey, found T.L.O. and
    another girl smoking in a restroom, a place that
    was by school rule a nonsmoking area. The two
    girls were taken to the principal's office where
    T.L.O.'s friend admitted that she had been
    smoking in the restroom. T.L.O. denied smoking
    there and to smoking at all. An assistant
    vice-principal demanded to see T.L.O.'s purse.
    Searching through it he found a pack of
    cigarettes. He also found rolling papers, a pipe,
    marijuana, a large wad of dollar bills, and two
    letters that indicated that T.L.O. was involved
    in marijuana dealing at the high school.

  • Her drugs were confiscated and she was escorted
    down to the police headquarters where she
    confessed to dealing drugs in the high school.
  • Due to the evidence and confession that followed
    T.L.O. the State brought delinquency charges
    against T. L. O. in the Juvenile and Domestic
    Relations Court of Middlesex County
  • T.L.O tried to then supress the evidence by
    saying her confession was tainted by the
    unlawfully search

New Jersey
  • 14 year old, female student, at Piscataway High

Majority opinion key points
  • Both the juvenile courts and the supreme court
    both agreed that T.L.O.s 4th amendment was not
    violated, even though Mr. Choplick pulled her
    pack of cigarettes out of her purse
  • The supreme court also agreed with the lower
    courts that the 4th amendment does apply searches
    conducted by school officials

Not everything was agreed
  • The court also rejected the State of New
    Jersey's argument that the exclusionary rule
    should not be employed to prevent the use in
    juvenile proceedings of evidence unlawfully
    seized by school officials. Declining to consider
    whether applying the rule to the fruits of
    searches by school officials would have any
    deterrent value, the court held simply that the
    precedents of this Court establish that "if an
    official search violates constitutional rights,
    the evidence is not admissible in criminal

  • Justice Powell (joined by Justice O'Connor)
    stated that while he agreed with the Court's
    opinion, he felt that students in primary and
    secondary educational settings should not be
    afforded the same level of protection for search
    and seizures as adults and juveniles in
    non-school settings.

  • "Today's decision sanctions school officials to
    conduct fullscale 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 adopting this unclear,
    unprecedented, and unnecessary departure from
    generally applicable Fourth Amendment standards,
    the Court carves out a broad exception to
    standards that this Court has developed over
    years of considering Fourth Amendment problems.
    Its decision is supported neither by precedent
    nor even by a fair application of the "balancing
    test of power" it proclaims in this very
    opinion." - Justice Brennan joined by Justice

  • We are satisfied that, when a school official has
    reasonable grounds to believe that a student
    possesses evidence of illegal activity or
    activity that would interfere with school
    discipline and order, the school official has the
    right to conduct a reasonable search for such
    evidence Supreme Court

R.R. (Ryans Reflection)
  • I feel the decision made by the lower and Supreme
    courts were justified
  • Mr. Choplick had the right due to probable cause
    to search T.L.O.s purse. Evidence was found due
    to the search and so she got her punishment.
  • Which ended up being a year on probation, no jail

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