The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides limits to law enforcement search and seizure procedures in order to protect individuals' privacy. Under the 4th Amendment, unreasonable searches and seizures carried out by law enforcement officials are forbidden, Perhaps most importantly, any evidence gathered in violation of the 4th Amendment is inadmissible in Court.
The 4th Amendment prohibits police officers from entering your house or your workplace, searching your backpacks, purses, or any other private personal item, among other private matters, in the absence of either probable cause or consent to the search.
Unfortunately, the protections of the 4th Amendment do not extend to illegal searches and seizures by non-governmental agents. Essentially, individuals may be subject to unreasonable and otherwise illegal search and seizure at the hands of a host of private actors such as landlords, employers, store employees, private security guards and the like. The New Mexico Supreme Court held as much in State v. Luis Santiago.
Saturday, February 19, 2011