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Case Basics
Docket No. 
New Jersey
(for the petitioner)
(for the respondent)
Facts of the Case 

T.L.O. was a high school student. School officials searched her purse suspecting she had cigarettes. The officials discovered cigarettes, a small amount of marijuana, and a list containing the names of students who owed T.L.O. money. T.L.O. was charged with possession of marijuana. Before trial, T.L.O. moved to suppress evidence discovered in the search, but the Court denied her motion. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County found her guilty and sentenced her to probation for one year. On appeal, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division affirmed the denial of the motion to suppress evidence. The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed, holding that the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment applies to searches and seizures conducted by school officials in public schools.


Does the exclusionary rule apply to searches conducted by school officials in public schools?

Decision: 6 votes for New Jersey, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

No decision. In an anonymous opinion, the Supreme Court restored the case to the calendar for reargument. In addition to the previously argued question, the Court requested that the parties brief and argue the additional question of whether the assistant principal violated the Fourth Amendment in opening T.L.O’s purse.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a dissent, stressing that New Jersey chose not to include the Fourth Amendment question in their petition. Justice Stevens felt that it is not the role of the Supreme Court to offer guidance on questions the parties did put at issue.

Cite this Page
NEW JERSEY v. T.L.O.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <>.
NEW JERSEY v. T.L.O., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 25, 2015).
"NEW JERSEY v. T.L.O.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015,