Volume 72, Number 6

December 1997

Suppress or Suspend: New York’s Exclusionary Rule in School Disciplinary Proceedings

Mai Linh Spencer

The federal exclusionary rule excludes evidence obtained in violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights from a criminal prosecution against that person. Many states also have state law-based versions of the rule, barring evidence obtained in violation of their constitution’s search and seizure counterparts to the Fourth Amendment. In a scenario where a student brings a gun to school and it is discovered in an unfounded, random search, the exclusionary rule precludes the gun’s use in a juvenile prosecution against the student. This Note addresses the question of whether the gun should also be suppressed in a resulting school suspension or expulsion proceeding against that same student. It considers not when a student’s constitutional right against search and seizure is violated, but rather what the remedy is for an acknowledged violation. Specifically, it argues that New York courts should apply the state constitution-based exclusionary rule to school disciplinary proceedings and suggests that other states should do the same with their own exclusionary rules.