Dissent 2 - SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES DONALD...

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SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES DONALD CURTIS SAMSON, PETITIONER v. CALIFORNIA on writ of certiorari to the court of appeal ofcalifornia, first appellate district [June 19, 2006] Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Souter and Justice Breyer join, dissenting. Our prior cases have consistently assumed that the Fourth Amendment provides some degree of protection for probationers and parolees. The protection is not as robust as that afforded to ordinary citizens; we have held that probationers’ lowered expectation of privacy may justify their warrantless search upon reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, see United States v. Knights, 534 U. S. 112 (2001) . We have also recognized that the supervisory responsibilities of probation officers, who are required to provide “ ‘individualized counseling’ ” and to monitor their charges’ progress, Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U. S. 868 , 876–877 (1987) , and who are in a unique position to judge “how close a supervision the probationer requires,” id. , at 876, may give rise to special needs justifying departures from Fourth Amendment strictures. See ibid. (“Although a probation officer is not an impartial magistrate, neither is he the police officer who normally conducts searches against the ordinary citizen”). But neither Knights nor Griffin supports a regime of suspicionless searches, conducted pursuant to a blanket grant of discretion untethered by any procedural safeguards, by law enforcement personnel who have no special interest in the welfare of the parolee or probationer. What the Court sanctions today is an unprecedented curtailment of liberty. Combining faulty syllogism with circular reasoning, the Court concludes that parolees have no more legitimate an expectation of privacy in their persons than do prisoners. However superficially appealing that parity in treatment may seem, it runs roughshod over our precedent. It also rests on an intuition that fares poorly under scrutiny. And once one acknowledges that parolees do have legitimate expectations of privacy beyond those of prisoners, our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence does not permit the conclusion, reached by the Court here for the first time, that a search supported by neither individualized suspicion nor “special needs” is nonetheless “reasonable.” The suspicionless search is the very evil the Fourth Amendment was intended to stamp out. See Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616 , 625–630 (1886) ; see also, e.g. , Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U. S. 32 , 37 (2000) . The pre- Revolutionary “writs of assistance,” which permitted roving searches for contraband, were reviled precisely because they “placed ‘the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.’ ” Boyd, 116 U. S., at 625. While individualized suspicion “is not an ‘irreducible’ component of reasonableness” under the Fourth Amendment , Edmond , 531 U. S., at 37 (quoting United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U. S. 543 , 561 (1976) ), the requirement has been dispensed with only when programmatic searches were required to meet a “ ‘special need’ … divorced from the State’s general interest in law enforcement.”
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