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When cops let non-cops do the dirty work

Oct 03, 2007 When cops let non-cops do the dirty work

Bill of Rights. (From the public domain.)

Cops know that courts generally refuse to apply the Fourth Amendment to private actors. What better way to tempt cops to entice private actors into actions that would be Fourth Amendment violations if committed by cops?

Last week, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals underlined this point by refusing to apply the Fourth Amendment to a dorm search at the George Washington University (where I graduated law school), even though GW special police waited closeby in the wings during the search, and then some. The case is Limpuangthip v. U.S., ___ A.2d ___ (D.C. Sept. 27, 2007).

Thanks to one of our frequent Underdog readers for alerting me to this Limpuangthip case — through a link to FourthAmendment.com — before I read it via the online slip opinions. I welcome readers’ ongoing tips.

Jon Katz.

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