Monday, November 22, 2010

Massachusetts High Court Quashes Warrantless Dorm Search

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion in Commonwealth v. Carr, affirming the trial court's order suppressing evidence because the Boston College Police Department failed to get sufficient permission from the students prior to conducting the on-campus search.  The court stated that the prosecutors "failed to satisfy its burden to prove that consent was freely and voluntarily given."  Quoting the trial court's order, the court noted that even if consent had been given, there were also questions about whether the consent could have been voluntary given the "coercive aspects to the officers' exercise of authority."  The Boston Globe has two articles about the decision: "SJC ruling tosses out evidence in BC students’ drug case" and "Court: BC police didn't get OK for dorm search."  Inside Higher Ed has a story "Warrantless Dorm Search Rejected."  

Last year, the Supreme Judicial Court quashed a different search conducted by the Boston College Police Department which was discussed in a prior post "Massachusetts High Courts Quashes Unconstitutional Search Of Boston College Dorm Room."


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