Some months ago, a sheriff and his deputies decided to search hundreds of students in the area for drugs without a warrant or probable cause. This didn’t go well with the students and their parents as they filed for lawsuits in the state’s courts. After months of deliberation over the issue, the lawyers representing the two sides have agreed to settle the case for $3 million. The students are from a high school known as Worth County High School. During the case, they were represented by lawyers from the Southern Center for Human Rights. Since the search had been conducted to over 850 students, the human rights organization lawyers announced that each of the students would receive between $1,000 and $6,000.
The lawyers further said that the settlement would be different for those that were subjected to more invasive searches. However, before the settlements can be made, the lawyers told the students that the settlement must first be reviewed by a federal judge. Just before the announcement was made, the county suspended the sheriff in question the previous day. He was then replaced by another sheriff the following day. The sheriff had been suspended in connection with this case and others that resembled this. The lawyers said that the sheriff had been accustomed to making illegal searches and seizures which was against the constitution. In the state of Georgia, for a police officer to search a person or a living premise, they must produce a warrant that has been signed by a judge. At the same time, a probable cause can lead to a search without necessarily obtaining a warrant.
One of the lawyers representing the students was identified as Mark Begnaud. He said that his organization saw the settlement as a great victory for the students and their families. He further said that this ruling would send a message that the state will not tolerate illegal searches. He said that they believed that the thing was wrong from the beginning. According to the lawyer, there was no way a sheriff and his deputies can walk in a school, with zero suspicion and start searching all the students. This case goes back to 14th April this year. The sheriff stormed into the high school at 8.a.m. with 40 uniformed police officers. The school had been subjected to a shutdown till noon that day as students were searched. Girls complained that the deputies inserted fingered into their bras.