Special Needs Searches vs. Individual Privacy

Topics: Criminal law, Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Searching Pages: 1 (306 words) Published: November 26, 2013

Of the different special needs searches available, they all have common characteristics being that they: (1) Are directed at people in general, not suspects
(2) Can result in criminal prosecution
(3) Don't require warrants or probable cause and
(4) Reasonableness depends on balancing special government needs against invasions of individual privacy. This search being conducted is an inventory search, which occur when a person and/or their property is in police custody, resulting in searching any containers, and making a list of items seized for safekeeping. The reasonableness of an inventory search depends on satisfying two elements: 1. Balancing Interests: searches have to balance the government’s special need to inspect against the invasion of individuals’ privacy caused by the search. If the government’s special need outweighs the individuals right to privacy, the search is reasonable. 2. Objective Basis: Routine procedures, probable cause and reasonable suspicion, are not required. Inventory searches are fourth amendment searches reasonable because they satisfy three government interests that aren’t directly connected to searching for evidence of a crime: (1) Protect owner’s things,

(2) Protect officers and agencies against lawsuits,
(3) Protect officers and suspects from dangers of hidden weapons, with the objective basis routine-procedure limit department must have a written procedure in place, taking the place of P.C and R.S in searches. Just like frisks, the sole purpose of a special needs search is to protect officers, but if evidence turns up during the search, it can be seized, and prosecutors can use it to charge criminal defendants and courts can introduce it to convict defendants in criminal cases. Since police regulations require officers to carry a pistol 24 hours a day, and the pistol was not found on the unconscious officer, the officer conducting the search took it upon himself to look for the pistol for purposes of public...
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