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U.S. intervention Likely in T.L.O.

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Washington--Justice Department officials said last week that they would not seek to intervene in a lawsuit now before the Supreme Court involving evidence seized in school-discipline proceedings, despite an Administration request that the department file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.

The lawsuit, State of New Jersey v. tlo, centers on whether information gained during disciplinary proceedings is admissible evidence in later juvenile-court proceedings.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled last August that evidence obtained by an administrator at Piscataway High School who searched a student's purse could not be used against the student in a court of law.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case but has not yet scheduled oral arguments.

Kay Oberly, assistant to Solicitor General Rex E. Lee, said she recommended that the Justice Department not file a brief because the outcome would not affect school officials' ability to discipline students. School discipline "is not really an issue in this case," she said.

Ms. Oberly added that Administration officials working on the President's discipline initiative asked the Justice Department to file the brief only a few days before the Supreme Court's Jan. 12 deadline for filing briefs related to the tlo case, and that meeting the deadline was not "feasible."--cc

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