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State v. B.A.H.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-31-2011
Case #: A144302
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wolheim, J.; & Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A144302.pdf

Criminal Law: Evidence found during a warrantless search is permissible when the search is made pursuant to the administrative policy of a school and there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

A juvenile was suspected of holding tobacco products or drugs at school when caught with a cigarette lighter. The disciplinarian searched the student in front of a police officer and found a container of methadone. The juvenile court granted the defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence because the search was not made pursuant to a warrant. On appeal, the state argued that the motion to suppress evidence should have been denied because the search met the exception for warrantless searches identified by the Oregon Supreme Court in State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. M. A. D., and argued that the search was made pursuant to the school district’s administrative search policy. The district’s search policy requires only a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, which was present here due to the student’s past offenses as well as the discovery of the lighter. The Court determined that warrantless searches of students with probable cause or reasonable suspicion meet the exception, and that the evidence was therefore permissible. Reversed.