In the Matter of T.A.S., 366 N.C. 269 (2012)

Vacated and Remanded

The NC Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Court of Appeals which held that the trial court erred when it denied the juvenile’s motion to suppress and remanded for additional findings of fact by the trial court. In July 2011, the Court of Appeals reversed the delinquency adjudication of a juvenile on whom drugs were found in the course of a school-wide search at an alternative school. [In re T.A.S., 213 N.C. App. 273, 713 S.E.2d 211 (2011).] The court held that requiring all female students to do a “bra-lift” as part of a school-wide search for drugs was constitutionally unreasonable where there was no individualized suspicion and no indication of imminent danger. One judge dissented on the bases that (i) attendance at an alternative school results in a diminished privacy interest; (ii) the search involved minimal intrusion; (iii) the governmental interest was important and immediate; and (iv) the search was an effective means of addressing the government’s concern. In its October 5, 2012, decision, the Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals and remanded to that court for further remand to the trial court. The court ordered the trial court to make additional findings that include: (1) the names, occupations, genders, and involvement of everyone who was physically present at the “bra lift” search of the juvenile; (2) whether the juvenile was advised before the search of the school’s “no penalty” policy; and (3) whether the “bra lift” search of the juvenile qualified as a “more intrusive” search under the school’s Safe School Plan.

Motions to Suppress
Search and Seizure
School Searches
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