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Supreme Court Rules Police Must Obtain Warrant to Search Hotel or Motel Registries

June 23, 2015  | 

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Los Angeles ordinance that allowed the police to inspect hotel and motel guest registries without permission from a judge. In a second decision, the court clarified the standards for excessive force claims against corrections officers from people awaiting trial.

Both cases were decided by 5-to-4 votes, with the court’s more liberal members in the majority.

The case concerning hotel registries is likely to have a broad impact, as dozens of cities allow warrantless searches, which law enforcement officials say help them catch fugitives and fight prostitution and drug dealing.

A group of motel owners challenged the Los Angeles law. They said they were not troubled by its requirement that they keep records about their guests. But they objected to a second part of the ordinance, which allowed the police to look at the registries at any time without the owners’ consent or a search warrant, the New York Times reports.

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Jon Retired LEO @ 6/23/2015 3:31 PM

Why does this not surprise me. The liberal left seems to be getting anything they want these days, but I guess that should not surprise us.

kevCopAz @ 6/23/2015 4:18 PM

Another nail in the coffin of police work. Really who were the "plaintiffs" (hotels) trying to help? The public, no because if you were not the fugitive or the drug dealer or the prostitute that the PD were looking at the books for then there wasn't any problem. They were trying to keep the PD from knowing the criminals that stay at their hotels/motels and protecting their own $. Now criminals can hide in any motel and without a warrant,hard to get when just looking for probable crimes (no PC) and for a possible location on a fugitive (no PC) it will be impossible to get a warrant. So once again the bad guys win, no real honest citizen was or would be harmed by allowing PD to look at the registry. Whats next do we need to get a warrant to inspect liquor licenses, fire inspection permits or any city license? If I were the local PD I would make any hotel that wouldn't allow us to see logs a place of intense patrol and make sure any and ALL laws there were enforced (health/license etc)

Charlie Blalock @ 6/23/2015 5:41 PM

What motive could be behind the objections of the motel owners?? Could they be in on the action......guess I'm just a cynical old cop.

S.S. @ 6/24/2015 7:27 AM

All 3 comments make sense. All I have to say is that "it's gonna take something horrific to happen"!! I just hope it's not on any officer.

Dude @ 6/25/2015 12:30 PM

Since this was brought on by hotel/motel owners, what if the owners don't have a problem with it and are willing to work with the police? What if the police just ask if so and so is registered there without looking at the registry? Does this mean that all info in these registries is strictly off limits unless a warrant is signed?

David B @ 6/25/2015 1:31 PM

Can a hotel/motel owner/manager consent to a warrantless search, or is a warrant required?

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