FOURTH AMENDMENT

October 1, 1994

 In Arizona v. Evans, 63 U.S.L.W. 4179 (March 1, 1995)(7-2), the Court held that the exclusionary rule does not apply to evidence seized by the police on the basis of a mistaken computer entry generated by court employees (rather than the police them- selves). In a combination of concurring and dissenting opinions, however, five members of the Court expressed great concern about the proliferation of computerized criminal justice records and their potential impact on personal privacy. Accordingly, the decision stops far short of creating a general good faith excep- tion to the exclusionary rule for any Fourth Amendment violation based on a computer mistake. The ACLU submitted an amicus brief supporting the defendant's claim that the evidence was properly excluded in this case regardless of which agency bore responsibi- lity for the underlying computer error.
Summary of Argument in ACLU amicus brief

In Wilson v. Arkansas, 63 U.S.L.W. 4456 (May 22, 1995)(9-0), the Court ruled that the "reasonableness" requirement of the Fourth Amendment generally requires the police to "knock and announce" their presence when executing a search warrant. The Court acknowledged that this presumption may be overcome in exigent circumstances. However, the Court did not give law enforcement officials a carte blanche to ignore the "knock and announce" rule in all cases. The ACLU submitted an amicus brief arguing in favor of the "knock and announce" rule.
Summary of Argument in ACLU amicus brief

In Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, 63 U.S.L.W. 4653 (June 26, 1995)(6-3), the Court upheld a program of random, suspicionless drug testing for middle or high school athletes. The majority opinion, written by Justice Scalia, acknowledged that drug testing constitutes a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. The Court nevertheless concluded that students have diminished Fourth Amendment rights that are outweighed by the state's interest in addressing the problem of drugs in schools. In a strongly worded dissent, Justice O'Connor criticized the majority for "dispens[ing] with the requirement of individualized suspicion . . ." Id. at 4659. The ACLU represented the student plaintiff in this case.
Summary of Argument in ACLU amicus brief

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