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Limits on the Search Waiver Term

NCJ Number
Perspectives Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2003 Pages: 42-45
Donna Lee Elm
Date Published
4 pages
This article examines limits on the search waiver requirement for probationers and parolees.
In most States, probationers and parolees are subject to search and seizure by authorities as a condition of their release. The search waiver term was designed as a way of bypassing the fourth amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The author discusses the Supreme Court case of Griffin v. Wisconsin to illustrate the confusion regarding the search waiver term. In many States, it is unclear whether probation and parole officers (PO’s) are able to conduct a search for any reason whatsoever, even without reasonable suspicion. The Supreme Court in this case adopted a reasonable suspicion standard regarding probation searches, thereby protecting some form of fourth amendment protection for probationers and parolees. The author discusses the confusion regarding this ruling and how States have sought to clarify under what conditions searches are permitted. These conditions involve two main issues: the reasonable suspicion standard and how to distinguish home visits from searches. Finally, the author examines probation seizure laws and illustrates some of the questions regarding seizures through an examination of the case United States v. Giannetta. Ultimately, the standard for probation seizures is the plain view rule which was established in a previous court case. In conclusion, agencies responsible for supervising probationers and parolees should adopt clear policies regarding lawful search and seizure requirements. Endnotes