Can citations for involvement with marijuana be issued based on SMS conversations only?

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Can citations for involvement with marijuana be issued based on SMS conversations only?

I attend a university. Recently a marijuana dealer was arrested for felony intent to distribute and possession. The police confiscated his phone and has now reviewed all the text message and contacts. Yesterday they began issuing over 20 $300 school citations on campus for communicating with the dealer in any way about marijuana. There has been no actual physical evidence found on any of the suspects. Is this possible? The citations say “intent to sell or use marijuana”. If this isn’t okay for the police to be doing could they or the school be sued?

Asked on November 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The problem that I see with respect to the issued citations that you write about is how does law enforcement actually know who had the SMS conversations with the suspected drug dealer?

I suspect that the citations were issued as a means to get students to come forward with information about the situation that you have written about so that it can be prevented in the future and to help with the criminal investigation.

I see nothing improper about the citations in that I suspect the information was retrieved from the suspected drug dealer's cell phone log as part of normal police investigation or event investigation by your school under its code of ethics.

I see no basis for a lawsuit against law enforcement of the school.


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