Justices Restrict Police Searches of Trash

Justices Restrict Police Searches of Trash
Posted by CN Staff on March 25, 2005 at 09:06:03 PT
By Kevin Corcoran
Indiana -- Criminal investigators can't root through Hoosiers' garbage on mere hunches of finding evidence, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday.Writing for the high court, Justice Theodore Boehm set a new, higher legal standard in which police must offer specific, legitimate reasons for trash searches that include a reasonable expectation of turning up evidence.
"The police can no longer, out of curiosity, come out to see what's in your trash," Indianapolis defense attorney Robert Hammerle said after reviewing the ruling. "We now require more of police officers than we do of raccoons."Hammerle said the Supreme Court essentially recognized that most people put their trash in opaque bags -- not clear plastic ones -- because they continue to have some expectation of privacy even after trash has been placed at the curb."You can tell a lot about a person from their trash," Hammerle said. "You can tell what they eat, where they shop. Police should not have unbridled access to all that."State Police, who conducted the search at issue, declined to comment Thursday, saying they were still reviewing the 11-page ruling.In the case, State Police went through the trash of Patrick and Susan May Litchfield, of Marshall County. Their names had been obtained from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which had come across the Litchfields in records subpoenaed from companies advertising in High Times, a magazine for marijuana growers, according to court records.During two searches in July 2002, troopers found burnt rolling papers and marijuana plant stems, seeds and leaves in trash barrels about 25 feet from the edge of the Litchfields' property. That led to a search warrant that turned up 51 marijuana plants growing on the couple's deck and, later, the couple's arrests."We think it is not reasonable for law enforcement to search indiscriminately through people's trash," Boehm wrote.Thursday, the Supreme Court's 5-0 ruling sent the case back to Marshall County for a judge there to determine whether police had had reason to believe they would find evidence in the trash.Even with this ruling, nothing would prevent police from searching through people's trash, but evidence they uncover could not be used in court unless it meets the new legal standard.The U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that people have no expectation of privacy when they set their trash out for collection, but Indiana's high court interprets the Indiana Constitution to require a higher standard, said Steve Johnson, executive director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council."This whole area of law has been in a state of flux," he said.Note: Cops still can look in garbage, but ruling means they must expect to find evidence.Source: (IN)Author: Kevin CorcoranPublished: March 25, 2005Copyright: 2005 IndyStar.comWebsite: kevin.corcoran indystar.comCannabisNews Justice Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 31, 2005 at 15:27:29 PT
You're very welcome. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by Druid on March 31, 2005 at 15:25:32 PT
Thank you 
I just wanted to be sure before I passed on this tidbit of info to my CannaFriends in Oregonthanks again for the very quick response. :D
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 31, 2005 at 15:23:34 PT
That's right they are two different states but I felt they were related in the ruling that's why I added it to this article.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by Druid on March 31, 2005 at 15:21:10 PT
I mean Indiana not Illinois. :)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by Druid on March 31, 2005 at 15:20:36 PT:
Those articles are related but they are talking about 2 different states correct? Illinois in the original posted article and Oregon in the related article you just posted?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 31, 2005 at 12:22:59 PT
Related Article from The Associated Press
Court: Garbage Can Searches Illegal  
By Charles E. Beggs, Associated Press Writer Thursday, March 31, 2005SALEM - The right to privacy is not abandoned when people set out their garbage for collection, the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.Defendants in two separate cases had argued that police illegally searched trash can contents. In one case, Portland police acting on tips hauled away and searched the garbage of fellow officer Gina Hoesly of Gresham in March 2002 and found evidence of several illegal drugs.She was charged with possessing cocaine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy and pleaded innocent. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Jean Maurer ruled that officers illegally seized the trash and that it couldn't be used as evidence.In the other case, state police in July 2001 found a small amount of marijuana in garbage they had taken from a can at the home of Thad and Amy Galloway of Clatskanie.Officers then got a search warrant and found a marijuana growing operation and methamphetamine at the house and charged them with drug crimes.Also in that case, Columbia County Circuit Judge Berkeley Smith ruled that the police violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.Police in both cases did not obtain warrants to search the trash cans, which had been set out for pickup by garbage companies.Prosecutors argued that once people put out their garbage for curbside collection, they have given up any legally protected "privacy or possessory interests" in it.The appeals court disagreed, saying the defendants put their garbage cans "in a particular place in order to facilitate a limited purpose ... pickup and disposal by a designated collection company."The unanimous three-judge panel added: "Defendants did not implicitly authorize anyone else to paw through their garbage and view or take items of garbage." 
Copyright: 2005 Associated Press
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on March 27, 2005 at 11:56:25 PT:
Way back in 1932, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis suggested that States utilize independent judgment as "laboratories of democracy" when federal government failes to properly serve the needs of Americans. This is why we should strive for the development of jurisprudence of our respective State Constitutions, MORE SO THAN FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. The federal government is greedy and do not care about individual freedoms. Indeed, we had to borrow from Rothschild [a FREEMASON!!], form the UNITED STATES government, a corporation, in the Act of 1871, and people we have been in debt ever since!!! Nowadays, the federal corporation known as the UNITED STATES has caused so much war and civil unrest among Americans that I sense hostility wherever I am while residing here in The State of New Jersey! Indeed, more people have been killed by our own governments than the sum of all casualties by other countries, See, e.g., DEATH BY GOVERNMENT, published by Transaction Publishers, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey; See also DEATH BY GUN CONTROL, published by Municipal police forces came from England around that time, too. Municipal police forces are an unconstitutional standing army, See ARE COPS CONSTITUTIONAL?, by Roger Roots, 2001 Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal 685, The people were the original law enforcement in this country, ibid. We should shrink law enforcement and repeal the quite ineffective gun control laws so that we resort to the people's original role in law enforcement. Law enforcement personnel are far too often not accountable, in both civil court and internal discipline. This is why we should ALWAYS assert violation of the STATE CONSTITUTION, besides the federal constitution. Indeed, our individual freedoms in your STATE CONSTITUTION is probably located at the BEGINNING of the document. The individual freedoms of the other constitution, the "Bill of Rights," are located at the end of the document. Doesn't this give you some idea of the priority intended?A few weeks ago, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled, in the case of State of New Jersey v. Naseem Abdul Muhammad, that the Right to remain silent under State law is MORE PROTECTIVE than the federal Right against self-incrimination.We must assert STATE CONSTITUTIONAL wrongs in order to assure the development of State Constitutional jurisprudence. Otherwise, the State judges may simply cite the federal cases and walk in lockstep to the federal decisions without developing State Constitutional doctrine!If you people continue to vote for Republicans and Democrats, except Ron Paul and other members of "The Liberty Caucus" of the United States House of Representatives, we will continue down the road to eliminating the United States Constitution and the State Constitutions, for their planned "New World Order", with their United Nations International Narcotics Treaties and Firearms Disarmament Treaties, which means no end in sight to decriminalizing Marihuana and you will not have any right to have a firearm to defend yourself no what the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and State Constitution says! Libertarian Party and Green Party are the only parties I vote for! Even though it is only three percent of the vote! Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by rchandar on March 26, 2005 at 20:18:18 PT:
absolutely, max--no charge of authority should be that intent on persecuting the sick. Sad place, Indiana is.--rchandar
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by painwithnoinsurance on March 26, 2005 at 08:31:17 PT
Thanks for the invitation. Maybe someday this state and every other state in this blessed country will not commit hate crimes on its citizens and start helping human being instead of condeming them. It's not my desire to be intoxicated but just to feel better and live my life to its fullest while i'm still here.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by rchandar on March 26, 2005 at 06:38:42 PT:
maybe it's just me...
...i don't know, i could be behind the times. maybe i'm still an old-fashioned brahmin at heart. but to me, only slimey people would ever look through someone's trash to find dirt on people. just me.--rchandar
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Max Flowers on March 25, 2005 at 19:02:49 PT
hi there, if you can you should move to California. Fu%k Indiana if that's how they will treat you. State officials in CA for the most part fully respect the medical cannabis law we've made here. You could safely grow and people will respect your needs. Screw that nazi police state, we'd love to have you here. I could never live somewhere where the local cops would do that to me!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by painwithnoinsurance on March 25, 2005 at 11:19:42 PT
Garbage patrol
The Indiana State Police went through my trash after observing me purchasing hydroponic equiptment from the internet. I guess this one site I purchased from was owned by the DEA because it was stated on an affidavit. They found a one inch marijuana stem in my trash then waited the next week's trash pickup only to find nothing. Regardless, they got a search warrant and showed up at my house with their cars lined up all along the street. There must have been 8 of them, some wearing bullet proof vest, army boots, and looking like a military operation. I let them in fearing they would brake the door down; they all had guns pointed at me from every direction on the porch out on the lawn on the side of the porch. They tore up my house searching the place only to find two plants 3 inches high. I think they knew their army of men searching my very small 800 square feet house was a little overkill. They seemed to have a lot of hate towards people who grow marijuana that was a bit excessive in my opinion. They don't treat any of my possesions with respect and made more of a mess than was necessary--all of which seemed to come from hate. Staightening my house back up was a major job for me because they didn't put anything back in its place which scattered everwhere demonstrated a lack of respect. I was growing two plants of marijuana to relieve my pain of degenerative disk disease in my lower back and neck that has me in pain everyday 24/7. I thank god my pain is not any worse than it already is because at times it is not easy to put up with. It was my decision to grow marijuana after taking all of the different kinds of medications prescribed by the many different doctors I have seen for this condition in the past. I have come to the conclusion that there just isn't anything that works worth a dam for back pain (at least anything I have ever tried) for this condition at any pharmacy. I took all of these different pills for years and they all seem to barely work make me feel drunk and dehydrated all the time. Marijuana helps me relax my spasms and reduce my pain, but the law keeps me from using it, so I just suffer with it along with the extreme fatuge that I guess comes from the almost constant pain naging me. It's not always extreme pain, but it's just there constantly.The newly elected governor of Indiana says the state is not broke it is bankrupt. The state is cutting funding for many things because they have no money. A veteran's hospital is closing in this area outraging many people. The state is starting to rely more and more on gambling for income. They even fund a program every year for local police to work overtime and stand on street corners for a week and watch for people not wearing seatbelts. Indiana is bankrupt but they have the money to send an army of police with their guns and cars parked along a whole city block for just two tiny marijuana plants. A government fighting wars against its own people sure is expensive.This government cannot provide health insurance to a huge portion of its people but sure can fight a war against drug abuse. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by global_warming on March 25, 2005 at 09:41:39 PT
So What Is Wrong?
with pigs loving garbage, and trash. Pigs are most comfortable in the coolwater of muddied crap and other such filth.The old saying, birds of a feather stay together.As for law enforcement folks, this goes to show how far down this insane war on people/drugs has plummeted, imagine a proud officer having to stain his uniform, his senses to plow through filth and garbage, bet thats something he writes home to momma about.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by potpal on March 25, 2005 at 09:17:40 PT
Cover your tracks...
Buckle your seat belt.
Don't speed. Use cruise control.
Check your auto/brake lights.
Sow every seed, preferrably around city hall.
Mind your trash. 
Use Visine.
Hide your yellow star.They're out to get you and your belongings. Don't help them.Teach your children well.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment