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Privacy of Hotel Registry Info

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Can a city require hotels to keep registry info and make it available to police at any time?  That was the question before the Ninth Circuit in Patel v. City of Los Angeles, 08-56567:

Plaintiffs Naranjibhai Patel and Ramilaben Patel are owners and operators of motels in Los Angeles. They challenge the constitutionality of Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) § 41.49, which requires operators of hotels in the City to maintain certain guest registry information and to make that information available to police officers on request. Appellants contend that LAMC § 41.49 is facially unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because it authorizes unreasonable invasions of their private business records without a warrant or pursuant to any recognized warrant exception. Following a bench trial on stipulated evidence, the district court held that the ordinance was reasonable and granted judgment in favor of the City, concluding that the hotel operators did not establish that they had a privacy interest in the guest registry information.

A facial challenge is "the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exist under which the Act would be valid." United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 745 (1987); see Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party, 552 U.S. 442, 449 (2008) ("i.e., that the law is unconstitutional in all of its applications"). That the ordinance might operate unconstitutionally under some circumstances is not enough to render it invalid against a facial challenge. The Patels have not satisfied that high standard. As a result, this facial challenge to the ordinance fails. We affirm.

Look for this one to go en banc.

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