Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Thinking outside the garbage can

Given the frequently impenetratable nature of language used by the legal fraternity, this concurring opinion (full ruling) on the constitutionality of a warrantless search of an individual's garbage in Montana is remarkable for its clarity. The closing words are priceless.

That said, if this Opinion is used to justify a sweep of the trash cans of a neighborhood or community; or if a trash dive for Sudafed boxes and matchbooks results in DNA or fingerprints being added to a forensic database or results in personal or business records, credit card receipts, personal correspondence or other property being archived for some future use unrelated to the case at hand, then, absent a search warrant, I may well reconsider my legal position and approach to these sorts of cases--even if I have to think outside the garbage can to get there.