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Ferguson v. City of Charleston (2001)
Updated: 4/17/2020
Ferguson v. City of Charleston (2001)
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Storyboard Text

  • The results show you've been tested positive for cocaine.
  • I've been trying to stop. Please don't report it, I can lose custody of my baby.
  • Your honor, the policy's validity on the theory that warrantless and non consensual drug tests conducted for criminal investigatory purposes were unconstitutional searches
  • The results show you've been tested positive for cocaine. If you want, I can recommend you to rehab.
  • Yes, I think that'd be best for the baby and I. Thank you so much Dr. Brown.
  • After an increase in the use of cocaine by patients receiving prenatal care, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) started to cooperate with Charleston to formulate a policy to prosecute mothers whose children tested positive for drugs at birth. MUSC obstetrical patients were arrested after testing positive for cocaine. They filed suit challenging the policy's validity on the theory that warrantless and non consensual drug tests conducted for criminal investigatory purposes were unconstitutional searches.
  • Is a state hospital's performance of a diagnostic test to obtain evidence of a patient's criminal conduct for law enforcement purposes an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment if the patient has not consented to the procedure?
  • The U.S. Supreme Court case Ferguson v. City of Charleston established that public hospitals couldn't legally drug test pregnant women without their consent when those women sought prenatal care at those hospitals.
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