Durham Herald Sun, NC
Oct 26, 2005
DURHAM -- Armed with more than 60 pages of documentation and case citations reaching from the N.C. Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, several Durham lawyers today will challenge the constitutionality of an August "back-to-school" operation that rounded up some 200 people -- most of them Duke University students -- for alleged underage drinking and other alcohol offenses.
The challenge will be made in Durham County District Court before Judge Craig Brown.
Its main thrust, according to legal paperwork obtained by The Herald-Sun Wednesday, is a contention that state Alcohol Law Enforcement agents unconstitutionally barged into a Markham Avenue house without a warrant and questioned suspects without advising them of their rights.
The agents were assisted by city police and possibly Duke officers, the paperwork says.
It alleges, among other things, that one undercover officer masqueraded as a student and served as a spy inside the Markham Avenue home for 90 minutes before revealing his true mission. He could have used a cell phone to relay his observations to a judicial official and request a warrant, but he chose not to do so, the paperwork contends.
The paperwork further alleges that other agents and officers surrounded the house and sealed off all possible exits, including windows, and then gave suspects only three options: to admit they were guilty of underage drinking, submit to a breath test or go to jail.