Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Yourtz, Rachael


This note argues that the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement should not apply to interviews of potential child abuse victims during the course of investigations to assess their safety. The article argues that, in such cases, children are witnesses, not perpetrators, taking them outside the scope of traditional Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Alternatively, if the Fourth Amendment is applicable, situations where children are potentially victimized by their parents present an extenuating circumstance where procuring a warrant would run counter to the objectives of the Constitution and the State's interest in protecting these children. Finally, the note argues that a warrant requirement would actually obstruct investigations into these crimes and preclude many victims from receiving help, rather than serving the purpose of protecting the victims from government encroachment.