Monday, October 17, 2005

One man's trash . . .

In a straightforward opinion rehearsing the law of search and seizure and that of abandonment, the Montana Supreme Court decides that a man who had thrown out evidence of the manufacture of methamphetamines had no reasonable expectation of privacy when the police came along and did a "trash dive."

Concurring justice James C. Nelson agrees that the law is in the state's favor. But he doesn't like it one little bit:

I don't like living in Orwell's 1984; but I do. And, absent the next extinction event or civil libertarians taking charge of the government (the former being more likely than the latter), the best we can do is try to keep [Uncle] Sam and the sub-Sams on a short leash.

And he holds open the possibility of reconsidering next time, "even if I have to think outside the garbage can to get there."

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