Interpreting Searches of Pretrial Releasees Through the Lens of the Fourth Amendment Special Needs Exception

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, in pertinent part, guarantees, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.” The Supreme Court has interpreted the Amendment’s fundamental purpose as to protect an individual’s privacy and security from “arbitrary invasions by government officials.” The rights and freedoms protected by the Fourth Amendment are not absolute, often requiring courts to assess the constitutionality of a governmental search through a balancing test. Although seemingly straightforward, the judiciary has struggled to establish a coherent body of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.

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