Do Not Disturb: Fourth Amendment Expectations of Privacy in Hotel Rooms
12 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2010 Last revised: 16 Dec 2010
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Do Not Disturb addresses the sometimes thorny issue of when occupants of a hotel room have standing under the Fourth Amendment to object to an illegal search of the room. This becomes particularly problematic when the occupant is not a typical hotel guest or violates a hotel policy. The Tenth Circuit requires an occupant to prove that he or she is a registered guest of the hotel, while the Sixth Circuit holds that invalid registration is the hotel’s concern alone.
Although hotel room rooms pose interesting Fourth Amendment problems, such as invalid registrations, fake names, guests of guests, and guests who stay beyond the rental period, this paper argues that the expectation of privacy in hotels should be measured in the same way that the Fourth Amendment deals with other types of residences and proposes that courts universally apply a rule requiring the hotel to act first to terminate the expectation of privacy of a guest who violates hotel policy.
Keywords: Fourth Amendment Expectation of Privacy, Fourth Amendment Standing, Hotel Room, Reasonable Expectation of Privacy, Registration
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