Friday, December 18, 2009

Garbage Out, Evidence In

A person who purchased items associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine at a Wasilla store was reported to the police. The police seized two garbage bags left out for collection at the suspect's residence and found evidence that led to criminal charges. The evidence was ordered suppressed by the trial court but was reversed by the court of appeals. A majority of the Alaska Supreme Court agreed that the evidence was admissible.

There is a dissent:

The people of Alaska deserve a rule that jealously protects their constitutional right of privacy, and I would adopt a rule requiring police to obtain a warrant to seize and search garbage that is left for collection in the normal course. I would therefore reverse the court of appeals's decision and reinstate the trial court's suppression ruling.

A decision like this could put Wasilla on the map. (Mike Frisch)

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