Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered by students at Georgetown.
These people may really have committed crimes, but false arrests do happen. Remember, the Department of Public Safety is generally looking out for public welfare, not individual rights.
We the people…
Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the government may not search a person or seize their effects in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a dorm room or a telephone booth, unless a judicial authority grants police or other agents of the state a specific authorization based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
Under the Exclusionary Rule, law enforcement may not use evidence against a person if it was obtained during the course of an illegal search.
These include a “stop and frisk” based on reasonable suspicion, seizure of contraband in plain view, search of a place in order prevent an emergency or secure volatile evidence, and searches conducted with the consent of the occupant.
Also, excessive noise, the smell of smoke, or any other indication of a potential safety risk will also allow any agent of the state to enter your room.
Students’ rights in dorms
Students have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their dorms, and the state may not violate it without warrant, period. There is no unified case law, but state and federal courts have held that the Fourth Amendment also applies when university officials are sworn officers of the state , they conduct searches accompanied by law enforcement , or when their primary purpose in conducting a search is to enforce of local law .
Several courts have also held that a university can legally turn over to police any evidence it obtains in the course of a search pursuant to its conduct policy .