Wyoming high court allows random searches under probation orders

[JURIST] The Wyoming Supreme Court [official website] has ruled in State v. McAuliffe [PDF opinion], where the court upheld by a 4-1 vote the constitutionality of probation orders allowing police to randomly search the subject of the order. The decision relied heavily on the Supreme Court's 2001 unanimous decision in United States v. Knights [opinion text], where the Court held that a warrantless search of Knights, which was supported by reasonable suspicion and allowed as a stipulation of his probation, was reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. In the Wyoming case, police lacked reasonable suspicion to support the search, but the majority found the search constitutional because the court that authorized McAuliffe's probation had the option of confining him, which would have eliminated any expectation of privacy held by McAuliffe. The lone dissent argued that "[t]he Supreme Court's [citations in United States v. Knights] ... lead me to conclude that although probable cause is not required, some quantum of individualized suspicion is nevertheless still necessary" to support a random search. Tuesday's Star-Tribune has local coverage.



 

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