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.