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Maryland Law Review

THE MARYLAND SURVEY: 1995-1996: Recent Decisions: The Maryland Court of Appeals


56 Md. L. Rev. 695


Barry M. Johnson


C. Prison Checkpoints and the Fourth Amendment: Balancing Compelling State Interests with the Individual's Reasonable Expectation to Privacy
In Gadson v. State, 1 the Court of Appeals held that, absent an articulable suspicion of criminal activity, it is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution 2 and Article 26 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights 3 to detain a prison visitor, who, prior to entering a prison, indicates a preference to leave rather than submit to detention. 4 The court's holding is consistent with search and seizure jurisprudence. 5

Using a balancing test, 6 the Court of Appeals weighed the state's interest in preventing drugs from entering the prison against the privacy interest of the individual in being free from unreasonable searches and seizures. 7 This Note argues that the court's holding is justified because the state achieved its goal of keeping drugs out of the prison when the visitor chose to leave the prison property. 8 Accordingly, the continued detention of the visitor was unreasonable, as it did not further the state's articulated interest. 9

1. The Case. - At the governor's request, the Maryland State Police established a drug detection checkpoint outside the House of Correction in Jessup, Maryland. 10 Three signs along an access road leading to the House of Correction advised visitors that they may be subject to a search by drug detection dogs before entering the prison facility. 11 On September 13, 1992, Tyrone Gadson (Gadson) and ...
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