The US Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that the section of the Los Angeles Municipal Code that allows police to check motel and hotel guest registries without a warrant is unconstitutional and a violation of the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures, reports India West.
The case of Los Angeles v. Patel was brought forth in 2003 by a group of Indian motel owners, after a series of incidents with the Los Angeles police in which the say hotel employees were harassed, threatened and arrested for clerical mistakes and English errors.
About half of American motel owners are Indian American.
Hotel registries today keep private information such as driver’s licenses and credit card information. This victory was a win for privacy as well.
“No hotel owner wants to see human trafficking or crime on his premises,” Ray Patel, president of the North East Los Angeles Hotel Owners Association (NELAHOA), said. “But the tactics used by the LAPD were not preventing crimes.”
You can read more reaction to the decision as well as the majority and dissenting opinions from the Supreme Court in India West.