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View Summary
 
In the Matter of KENNETH DRAKE, Appellant
vs.
COUNTY OF ESSEX ESSEX COUNTY JAIL and NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL MERIT SYSTEM BOARD Respondents.


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Issues:
Drug testing, reasonable suspicion.
 
Case Summary:
Kenneth Drake, a corrections officer, appeals a state merit board decision, dismissing him from his position. Drake was removed from his position after a confidential informant reported the scent of marijuana in an Essex County Jail restroom. Based on reasonable suspicion, Drake and three other officers were ordered to provide urine samples for drug testing. After testing positive, Essex County ordered Drake's removal.
 
Decision of lower jurisdiction:
Drake brought the matter before the New Jersey Merit System Board who then referred the case to the Office of the Administrative Law Judge for a hearing. The judge recommended the decision be overturned because the warden' suspicions were not specific to Drake or any individual officer with access to the washroom facility.
 
Outcome:
Drake loses. Satisfied that the warden possessed "individualized reasonable suspicion," and because of Drake's "special access" to inmates, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court upheld the Merit Board.