Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wow, Maryland Courts Actually Rule In Favor of Privacy

and against the cops no less.

The state's highest court has invalidated the body search of a drug offender, effectively wiping out his conviction by ruling yesterday that police had not given him enough privacy when they checked a common drug-stashing location: between his buttocks.

Baltimore County detectives could have searched the Fallston man at a police station or "in the privacy of a police van," Judge Clayton Greene Jr. wrote for the majority of the Court of Appeals. Instead, a gloved investigator searched John August Paulino at night at the Dundalk carwash where he was arrested and where his friends who were with him might have seen.

Greene called the search unconstitutional and unreasonable, writing that it was not an emergency and should not have been done in public.

But Judge Lynne A. Battaglia, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland, disagreed, saying that the majority opinion ties the hands of police.

"By holding as it does, the majority impermissibly restricts the police's ability to conduct reasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment for drugs that are secreted on an individual known to be carrying such drugs to prevent their loss," she wrote in the dissent.

I do love how the dissent says that they already know the individual is carrying drugs. If that's true, why not just throw them in jail? What's the point of the search?

Anyway, the guy has already served six years of his wrongful 10-year sentence, and it's hard to have too much sympathy for a crack dealer (accidental pun not intended, but nonetheless mildly funny), but I'm glad that the Court does value privacy and the presumption of innocence even if only a little.

Kid H.

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Blogger Frankie said...

Anyone here have contact info for Skiboricus? He owes several people Slashdot t-shirts.

12:26 PM  

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