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Iowa Supreme Court bars warrantless police searches of trash

Police Searches Iowa
Posted at 2:55 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 15:55:00-04

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A divided Iowa Supreme Court has banned police from searching people’s uncollected trash without a warrant. The investigative technique had been used for decades.

The court ruled 4-3 Friday that officers commit an unreasonable search and seizure under the Iowa Constitution when they look through trash left for collection outside homes in search for evidence.

Justice Christopher McDonald wrote for the majority that the tactic amounts to an unconstitutional trespass on private property and violates citizens’ expectations of privacy. Dissenting justices warned that the decision is out of step with most states and outlaws a tactic used to gather evidence of drug manufacturing and dealing.

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