PULLMAN, Wash. -- A judge's ruling has prompted Washington State University police to at least temporarily change the way they look for evidence of illegal drinking and drug use in dormitories.I'm glad to see that Judge Frazier is a strict interpretationist. He'll no doubt make quick work of PARD's frivilous appeal.
After the May 3 decision by Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier, officers have stopped walking through residence halls listening for parties or sniffing for the smell of marijuana, WSU Police Chief Steve Hansen said.
Frazier ruled that because WSU has a policy prohibiting anyone but residents and escorted guests into residence halls, police patrols looking for violations are an unconstitutional violation of students' privacy rights. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Byron Bedirian said his office plans to appeal.
Steve Martonick, an attorney representing a WSU student arrested in a friend's dorm room Jan. 8 for possessing cocaine, challenged the way WSU Police Officer Matt Kuhrt gained entry into a dorm room.
Kuhrt allegedly smelled marijuana as he walked by on a foot patrol in Perham Hall, Martonick said.
The officer returned to the station and called Frazier, who agreed to issue a search warrant, according to a brief filed by Bedirian.
A drug-sniffing dog led Kuhrt to cocaine in the woman's purse, Bedirian said in his brief.
Martonick sought to suppress the drug evidence, arguing Kuhrt's presence in the building was the kind of unlawful search prohibited by the Fourth Amendment.
The issue was whether police officers can enter a locked residence hall without being called by one of the residents.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
"Judge rules police dorm patrols violate privacy"
Interesting story on the Seattle P-I website:
Posted by Unknown at 10:11 PM