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View Summary
 
WILLIE H. RAWLINGS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
vs.
POLICE DEPARTMENT OF JERSEY CITY NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT


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Issues:
Drug testing, reasonable suspicion, Fourth Amendment, refusal.
 
Case Summary:
Police officer Willie Rawlings was seated in an automobile in the company of two other men when he was arrested by the Jersey City Police Narcotics Squad. Rawlings allegedly tried to conceal a vial of cocaine and was observed exchanging money with the two men. Following his arrest on suspicion of possessing and distributing cocaine, Rawlings was ordered to submit a urine sample for a mandatory drug test. When he refused to obey the departmental general order calling for a drug test he was fired for insubordination. Rawlings was later acquitted on the distribution charge, but sued the department claiming his constitutional guarantees under the Fourth and Fifth amendment were violated.
 
Decision of lower jurisdiction:
The administrative law judge upheld the dismissal order submitted by the Merit System Board. On appeal, the decision of the lower court was upheld by the Appellate Division who noted that Rawlings had not disputed the finding that his arrest gave rise to reasonable suspicion that he had used drugs. .
 
Outcome:
Rawlings loses. The State Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Division on the grounds that Rawlings conduct constituted insubordination and therefore his dismissal was an appropriate sanction consistent with the State Attorney General's Law Enforcement Drug Screening Guidelines.