Yesterday, I blogged about a case being argued today in the Supreme Court that considered whether a warrant is required to interview a child in a school setting if the child is suspected of being an abuse victim. As strange as it may seem to readers who are familiar with state laws that allow child protective services to come interview a child in the school building without any warrant or parental notification (much less parental consent), in this case, a school social worker had interviewed a child in the presence of law enforcement, who then charged the child’s father. The charges were eventually dropped when the child recanted, but her mother sued the school and the two investigators, claiming that the situation constituted a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment and required a warrant. The Ninth Circuit agreed that it required a warrant but found that the two investigators were qualified for immunity.
Today, the court heard oral arguments (transcript here), and it seems that they may not make a decision on the substantive issue.
Mark Walsh and Associated Press cover what happened during oral argument today and why the court may either not make any decision, or may just throw out the Ninth Circuit’s ruling without ever getting to any real statement as to whether a warrant or parental consent is needed to interview a child.