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Safety Law News for November 21, 2017

In Oregon, the Court of Appeals held that the “school safety exception” to the Oregon Constitution did not permit a police officer to search a non-student, who happened to be at school during a shooting that threatened school children and staff. The defendant had heard that a shooting had occurred at the high school where his younger sister was a student. He rushed to the school while in possession of a handgun.

  • In Indiana, the Court of Appeals held that two students who resisted attempts by school resource officers to search them could be prosecuted for acts constituting new offenses within the new-crime exception to the exclusionary rule. The officers were conducting pat-down searches of students who were in a classroom where a cell phone was reported stolen. Both juveniles assaulted the officers to prevent the searches.

  • In Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that it was unreasonable for a police officer to search the bag of a non-student trespasser who attempted to enter the school. The court ruled that while the officer could have arrested the trespasser, which would have allowed a search incident-to-arrest, the police lacked a reasonable belief that the defendant was armed and dangerous and, therefore, a pat/frisk and search of the backpack was unreasonable.

  • In Colorado, the United States District Court upheld a student’s conviction under C.R.S. § 18-9-109(6), that makes it a crime to; “knowingly make or convey to another person a credible threat to … a student, school official, or employee of an educational institution.” Students reported that the juvenile’s behaviors created fear that he would engage in a serious act of violence at school. The court held that the law had a pre-emptive purpose to criminalize threats of attack to enable law enforcement to prevent their happening.

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