Dec 022011
 December 2, 2011  Posted by  Court, Surveillance, Youth & Schools

I had tweeted about this decision last week, but I seem to have forgotten to post it on the blog as well (hey, I’m old, I forget…).  Thanks to a reader who sent this in with a subject line, “i figured this would piss you and your readers off as much as it does me..”  He’s right, as usual.  From

Officials at high schools in Idaho can search automobiles belonging to students even when there is no evidence that they have broken any laws. The state Court of Appeals ruled last week that warrantless searches without probable cause are constitutionally permitted on school grounds.

Joseph A. Voss, Jr was a student at Timberline High School and over the age of eighteen on April 8, 2009 when an assistant principal decided to rummage through his automobile. An anonymous source informed the school official that Voss had been seen driving unsafely. Voss was called to the principal’s office to explain, reeking of tobacco.

Voss could legally smoke, but Boise School District Rule 3233 prohibits possession of cigarettes on school grounds. So the assistant principal entered Voss’s automobile to see if it had a cigarette pack on board, but he instead found a bong and a set of brass knuckles. Voss appealed, citing a 2009 US Supreme Court decision that concluded students were protected by the Fourth Amendment, but under a reduced standard where the search is “not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.” Here, a three-judge panel read those cases in a different light.

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