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Portland's top brass said it was OK to swipe your garbage--so we grabbed theirs.

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  • Portland's top brass said it was OK to swipe your garbage--so we grabbed theirs.

    RUBBISH!
    Portland's top brass said it was OK to swipe your garbage--so we grabbed theirs.

    http://www.wweek.com/portland/articl...rubbish.html-2

    Oh my Lord, I laughed so hard reading this.
    It's past midnight. Over the whump of the wipers and the screech of the fan belt, we lurch through the side streets of Southeast Portland in a battered white van, double-checking our toolkit: flashlight, binoculars, duct tape, scissors, watch caps, rawhide gloves, vinyl gloves, latex gloves, trash bags, 30-gallon can, tarpaulins, Sharpie, notebook--notebook?


    Well, yes. Technically, this is a journalistic exercise--at least, that's what we keep telling ourselves. We're upholding our sacred trust as representatives of the Fourth Estate. Comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable.Pushing the reportorial envelope--by liberating the trash of Portland's top brass.


    We didn't dream up this idea on our own. We got our inspiration from the Portland police.


    Back in March, the police swiped the trash of fellow officer Gina Hoesly. They didn't ask permission. They didn't ask for a search warrant. They just grabbed it. Their sordid haul, which included a bloody tampon, became the basis for drug charges against her (see "Gross Violation," below).


    The news left a lot of Portlanders--including us--scratching our heads. Aren't there rules about this sort of thing? Aren't citizens protected from unreasonable search and seizure by the Fourth Amendment?
    The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office doesn't think so. Prosecutor Mark McDonnell says that once you set your garbage out on the curb, it becomes public property.


    "She placed her garbage can out in the open, open to public view, in the public right of way," McDonnell told Judge Jean Kerr Maurer earlier this month. "There were no signs on the garbage, 'Do not open. Do not trespass.' There was every indication...she had relinquished her privacy, possessory interest."


    Police Chief Mark Kroeker echoed this reasoning. "Most judges have the opinion that [once] trash is put out...it's trash, and abandoned in terms of privacy,"he told WW.


    In fact, it turns out that police officers throughout Oregon have been rummaging through people's trash for more than three decades. Portland drug cops conduct"garbage pulls" once or twice per month, says narcotics Sgt. Eric Schober.


    On Dec. 10, Maurer rubbished this practice. Scrutinizing garbage, she declared, is an invasion of privacy: The police must obtain a search warrant before they swipe someone's trash.
    "Personal and business correspondence, photographs, personal financial information, political mail, items related to health concerns and sexual practices are all routinely found in garbage receptacles," Maurer wrote. The fact that a person has put these items out for pick-up, she said, "does not suggest an invitation to others to examine them."


    But local law enforcement officials pooh-poohed the judge's decision.


    "This particular very unique and very by-herself judge took a position no in concert with the other judges who had given us instruction by their decisions across the years," said Kroeker.


    The District Attorney's Office agreed and vowed to challenge the ruling.

    more at link...







  • #2
    Amusing, but article dates from 2002!

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    • #3
      Meanwhile when I was in Portland last month the junkies were everywhere. Even shooting up in broad day light.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Hildemel View Post
        Meanwhile when I was in Portland last month the junkies were everywhere. Even shooting up in broad day light.
        Oh God, I hate to hear that.

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