30 Mercer L. Rev. 1093 (1978-1979)
Random Searches at Public Concert Held Fourth Amendment Violation

handle is hein.journals/mercer30 and id is 1103 raw text is: Random Searches at Public Concert Held Fourth
Amendment Violation
In Gaioni v. Folmar,' the District Court for the Middle District of Ala-
bama held, in a class action suit, that random warrantless searches of
patrons for narcotics as they entered a rock music concert violated the
Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.2
Plaintiffs, patrons at a Charlie Daniels Band concert held at the city-
owned Montgomery Civic Center on December 29, 1977, challenged the
random warrantless searches of sixty to seventy percent of the persons
attending the performance. Forty-nine policemen conducted the searches
and were given complete discretion as to whom to search. The searches
were made pursuant to a memorandum from the city public safety director
to the police chief. This memorandum resulted from the mayor's observ-
ance of widespread marijuana and alcohol use at an earlier Civic Center
concert and the failure of lesser measures, such as posting no smoking
signs and banning beer sales, to control drug and alcohol use at concerts.
Plaintiffs sued, claiming that the searches infringed upon first, fourth, and
fourteenth amendment freedoms. Plaintiffs additionally sought an injunc-
tion against similar actions in the future and expungement of arrest re-
cords that resulted from the warrantless searches. Named as defendants
were the mayor, the public safety director, and the police chief of Montgo-
mery, Alabama.
Not all warrantless searches are unconstitutional. In Katz v. United
States,' the Supreme Court noted that there are some exceptions to the
general prohibition against such searches;' and in Elkins v. United States,5
the Supreme Court held that only unreasonable searches and seizures are
banned.' When a case involves any of these exceptions to the warrant
requirement, the burden of proof in establishing the validity of the war-
1. 460 F. Supp. 10 (M.D. Ala. 1978).
2. U.S. CONST. amend. IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.
3. See, e.g., Katz. v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).
4. Id. at 357. The Court has enumerated several exceptions, two of which are discussed
in Gaioni. Consent, first established as one of these exceptions in Zap v. United States, 328
U.S. 624, 630 (1945) and Davis v. United States, 382 U.S. 582, 593-94 (1965), was further
defined in Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 226 (1973). Airport searches were upheld
in United States v. Moreno, 475 F.2d 44 (5th Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 840 (1973).
Regarding the constitutionality of airport searches, see also United States v. Bell, 464 F.2d
667, 675 (2d Cir. 1972)(concurring opinion), and United States v. Skipwith, 482 F.2d 1272
(5th Cir. 1973).
5. 364 U.S. 206 (1960).
6. Id. at 222.


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