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In Patel v. City of Los Angeles, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down Los Angeles Municipal Code section 41.49, which authorized warrantless, on-site search and seizure of hotel and motel guest registries. In doing so, the majority recognized that in the absence of a warrant, an administrative record inspection scheme must provide the opportunity for pre-compliance judicial review of the search’s reasonableness. By recognizing section 41.49’s lack of pre-compliance review, the majority took a step to curb police officers’ arbitrary, unmonitored application of the statute. In turn, this will provide a disincentive for targeting guests without probable cause, as officers no longer have direct, uncontested access to hotel registries. In granting certiorari and hearing the case, the Supreme Court should recognize the extent to which this revision serves to prevent arbitrary police searches.
Curbing “Unbridled Discretion”: The Direct and Indirect Effects of Patel v. Los Angeles on Hotel Owners and Their Patrons,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.
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