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State

Decided: June 30, 1982.

STATE IN INTEREST OF T.L.O., JUVENILE-APPELLANT


On appeal from the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Middlesex County, whose opinion is reported at 178 N.J. Super. 329 (1980).

Milmed, Joelson and Gaulkin. Joelson, J.A.D., dissenting in part.

Per Curiam

We affirm the denial of the motion to suppress the evidence produced by the search of the juvenile's purse substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Nicola in his opinion reported at 178 N.J. Super. 329 (J. & D.R.Ct.1980).

However, we find that neither the record nor the findings and conclusions of the trial judge are sufficient for us to determine the sufficiency of the Miranda waiver which was assertedly made by or on behalf of the juvenile immediately before her

resumed questioning by the police officer. We must therefore remand the matter to the trial court for further proceedings and findings and conclusions in light of the principles enunciated in Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S. Ct. 1880, 68 L. Ed. 2d 378 (1981) and State v. Fussell, 174 N.J. Super. 14 (App.Div.1980).

The final adjudication of delinquency entered on January 7, 1982 is vacated and the matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent herewith. We do not retain jurisdiction.

JOELSON, J.A.D., dissenting in part.

The opinion of the trial judge, State in Interest of T.L.O., 178 N.J. Super. 329 (J. & D.R.Ct.1980), acknowledges that ". . . public school officials are to be considered governmental officers, . . ." Id. at 340. See also Durgin v. Brown, 37 N.J. 189, 199 (1962); Kaveny v. Bd. of Com'rs of Montclair, 69 N.J. Super. 94, 101-102 (Law Div. 1961), aff'd 71 N.J. Super. 244 (App.Div.1962); State in the Interest of G.C., 121 N.J. Super. 108 (J. & D.R.Ct.1972). The trial court's opinion further recognizes that juveniles in public schools are not without constitutional rights. 178 N.J. Super. at 337. See also In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 90 S. Ct. 1068, 25 L. Ed. 2d 368 (1970); Tinker v. Des Moines School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 89 S. Ct. 733, 21 L. Ed. 2d 731 (1969); In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 87 S. Ct. 1428, 18 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1967). However, although stating that public school students are entitled to Fourth Amendment rights, the trial court chose to follow those jurisdictions which apply a lower standard of reasonableness with regard to searches and seizures conducted by public school authorities against children in school.

The result arrived at by the trial court and approved by my colleagues in the majority would deny to a high school girl suspected of an infraction of a school regulation the same Fourth Amendment protection given to an out-of-school juvenile suspected of a violation of law, or even to an adult suspected of the most heinous crime. As anomalous as this might appear, it must be acknowledged that there is a special relationship between

pupils and school authorities, and that the reasonableness of a search and seizure should be assessed in the context of that relationship. However, along with such an acknowledgment comes a need for the exercise of care lest the standard of reasonableness should be permitted to sink so low as to legitimize the search and seizures that took place in the case under review.

Although the trial judge in the opinion which has been adopted by my colleagues gave lip service to the Fourth Amendment, he applied the diminished standard of reasonableness in such a way as to render the protection of the Fourth Amendment virtually unavailable to juveniles in public schools who are suspected of violation of school regulations. As the trial judge noted, some jurisdictions flatly hold that the Fourth Amendment need not be applied in a school setting. 178 N.J. Super. at 339. However, the New Jersey Legislature has decreed otherwise in providing that juveniles shall be accorded "[t]he right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures." N.J.S.A. 2A:4-60. The Fourth Amendment ...


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