Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Your trash is not your own

I was fascinated by a piece in the Portland Alt-Weekly that detailed an odd project: In the wake of a mild outcry over the police seizure of a a suspects trash, they went and examined the trash of the police chief, the mayor and the DA.  Two of the three-- the DA being the exception--went berzerk in response.

Of course, I'm not surprised that it was the prosecutor who didn't go haywire. Like me, he is trained in search and seizure law, and knows that trash is "abandoned" once you set it by the curb, and retains no expectation of privacy. It is a well-established principle of criminal law laid out in multiple Supreme Court cases.  Oddly, the newspaper's search found that he was disposing of items related to his own military service in the Marines. No scandal there, but interesting.

So, a note to you all: your trash is not your own. Plan accordingly.

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