State v. Polk

An unattended book bag, found by a school bus driver, led to a series of searches and the arrest of high school student, Joshua Polk for illegal conveyance or possession of a deadly weapon in a school safety zone.

Juvenile Law Center, in collaboration with other amici, filed an amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court in support of Mr. Polk. Our brief argued that the second and third searches of Mr. Polk violated his Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure. Amici urged the Court to affirm the Ohio Court of Appeals’ holding that the exclusionary rule bars admission of evidence illegally obtained by school officials. The Court of Appeals found that the exclusionary rule is a necessary safeguard to prevent Fourth Amendment violations from school officials whose interests are increasingly aligned with those of law enforcement to whom they increasingly refer students.

The Ohio Supreme Court held that the searches of Mr. Polk were limited to furthering the compelling governmental interest of protecting public-school students from physical harm and were reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.