Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Police Can Stop, Search Parolees at Will

The U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed a California law that permits police to stop and search parolees without cause.
"California's ability to conduct suspicionless searches of parolees serves its interest in reducing recidivism, in a manner that aids, rather than hinders the re-integration of parolees into productive society," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.

In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that requiring police to show they reasonably suspected wrongdoing is a shield "to guard against the evils of arbitrary action, caprice, and harassment." Stevens said that the majority merely paid "lip service" to the Constitution and branded the California law "an unprecedented curtailment of liberty."