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Get Those Cops Out Of My Trash!

She was swathed in mink and diamonds. And fingering a wad of cash. "Thanks for fixing my sports car, Darling.” She smiled at the mechanic. The mechanic's eyes popped as she paid her bill in $100 bills.

“Uhh…let me get you a receipt.” He rushed to his boss' office at the back of the garage.

"Boss! The babe with the black Porsche just paid her $3000 bill in cash. What do you want me to do?" The boss took a long look at the lady. Something fishy was going on.

"Give her a receipt and get rid of her," he whispered to Danny. "I'll call the cops."

At the police station, the Sergeant scrambled into action. "Alicia is a well known drug dealer. We've been after her for years. Maybe we can finally nail her. Get those $100 bills to the lab." The lab results came back.

"The bills are covered in cocaine." The Sergeant furrowed his brow. "That's a start. But we still need more evidence." He ordered a garbage squad.

“Okay men, collect Alicia’s garbage and search it for evidence.” The officers spent five days groping through materials unfit for a weak stomach.

“Hey Serge! I think we’ve found something,” an officer declared. There were three baggies with a small holes snipped out, lined with remnants of cocaine.

"We just got lucky, boys," yelled the detective. "Get a warrant for her arrest and charge her with possession of cocaine."


Alicia was outraged, "Those cops had no right to go through my trash, Your Honor. It was on my property, right next to my No Trespassing sign. What about my right to privacy?”

The police remained calm. "That garbage was right out in the open, where anyone could find it, including the police. The evidence is clear. The suspect was found in possession of illegal drugs."

Should Alicia be convicted of drug possession? You! Be the Judge. Then look below for the court's decision.




"Guilty!" cried the Judge. "People know that trash placed for collection can be taken by anyone. It makes no difference whether the garbage is on the curb, the sidewalk, or even the accused's property. It was left to be picked-up by someone else. It was abandoned."

Today’s column is based on a case from the United States. The characters and the scenarios are fictional. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. If you have a similar problem, consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction. Elissa Bernstein is a lawyer and internationally syndicated columnist. Copyright 2011 Haika Enterprises.

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