Connecticut Supreme Court Rules Inspection by Municipal Authorities Subject to 4th Amendment Prohibition of Unreasonable Searches
February 10, 2012
The Connecticut Supreme Court recently issued an important advance decision concerning the ability of municipal enforcement authorities to inspect residential properties for zoning violations. In the case of Bozrah v. Chmurynski (which will be officially released on February 14, 2012), the Supreme Court affirmed that inspections of individual properties are subject to the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches. Further, the Court held that zoning enforcement authorities must meet a "probable cause" standard before initiating an inspection without the owner's consent. The higher standard established by the Court mirrors the legal standard for searches in a criminal case, and presents municipalities with new challenges in civil enforcement matters.