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Suspicion of drug crimes doesn’t mean police can abandon protocol

When Georgia law enforcement officials conduct investigations, they are required to follow certain protocols and procedures to ensure that they do not violate the rights of those people suspected of wrongdoing. The adage that police are there to “protect and serve” extends to those accused of crimes, not just those believed to be victims or innocent. For instance, when police conduct searches regarding suspected drug crimes, they cannot violate the right against an unreasonable search and seizure.

In fact, on or about April 14, approximately 850 students were subjected to questionable searches at their school. The sheriff of the Georgia county the school is in ordered his deputies to conduct the searches after locking down the school. The minors were not allowed to contact their parents or leave the premises.

Some of the students claimed that it felt as though officers sexually violated them during the search. In this instance, a federal lawsuit was filed against the Worth County Sheriff’s Department. Recently, a settlement was reached. The more important issue was that the sheriff ordered and the deputies carried out the search, which was characterized as invasive. Any violation of an individual’s constitutional rights by police is unacceptable, which is one reason why police are required to follow certain procedures.

When someone accused of drug crimes (or any crime for that matter) believes that a search violated his or her rights, that fact should be shared with counsel immediately. An investigation into the circumstances could substantiate that belief. In any case, part of any criminal defense is ensuring that the individual’s rights are protected and all options for resolving the case with the best outcome possible are explored.

Source: onlineathens.com, “Georgia students subjected to invasive body searches to share $3 million payout“, Brad Schrade, Nov. 15, 2017