T.L.O. confessed to police that she was selling marijuana at the high school. Based on the evidence and the confession the state of New Jersey charged T.L.O. of delinquency. T.L.O. filed to suppress the evidence of the unlawful search but the Juvenile Court denied the motion to suppress due to the conclusion that Ms. Choplick’s search was reasonable. A divided Appellate Division affirmed the trial courts finding that there was no violation of the fourth amendment. The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts that the fourth amendment applies to school officials but the court disagreed with the Juvenile Court that the search of the purse was reasonable.
Legal issues: In order for the court to determine whether the search was constitutional or not the court has to decide whether or not the part of the fourth amendment about the unreasonable searches and seizures applies if a school official is doing the search. It is also questionable whether the exclusionary rule applies when a school official does the searching.
Court’s analysis: The court discussed West Virginia State Bd. of Ed. V. Barnett and applied the fourth amendment applies to the states by the fourteenth amendment and that the school official’s actions are subject to the limits given to the stat by the fourteenth amendment. Boyer v. United States was applied because it decided that only unreasonable searches and seizures are unconstitutional and any searches and seizures done with a warrant or reasonably dought are constitutional because they describe the items searched for. But Boyd v. United States never limited the amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures to operations used by police officers. Camera v. Municipal Court was used in a way that a forced entry to a person’s property is unreasonable if there was no proof of harm. Even firemen entering to a premises to battle a fire are subject to restraint by the fourth amendment. According to Marshall v. Barlow’s, Inc., it would be inconsistent to say that an individual and his privacy are protected when he is suspected of criminal behavior. An argument of