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Discarded Cigarettes, DNA and Privacy

November 24th, 2010 by Celeste Fremon


No, actually this video has zero to do with the content of the post. It’s simply some good Thanksgiving sentiments coming your direction via John Lennon.


IS PICKING UP AND DNA TESTING A CIGARETTE A 4TH AMENDMENT VIOLATION?


This is a really interesting decision by a California appellate court
regarding what constitutes search and seizure. (All of which is a hot topic in general this week, what with TSA doing all that new searching and, you know, seizing).

The Sac Bee has the story:

In the first case of its kind in California, a state appellate court in Sacramento ruled Monday that a suspect in a criminal investigation has no expectation of privacy in a discarded item, and a DNA test of the item is not an unconstitutional search.

The court upheld the murder conviction of a man snared 15 years after the crime by results of DNA testing on a cigarette butt he tossed on a sidewalk.

Rolando N. Gallego’s lawyer challenged the second-degree murder conviction in Sacramento Superior Court, contending his client’s constitutional shield against warrantless searches was violated by a DNA test of saliva taken from the cigarette.

But a three-justice panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal concluded that the test was for the sole purpose of identifying Gallego as a suspect in an ongoing homicide investigation, and “did not constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment. … (He) had no reasonable expectation of privacy in this discarded item.”


AND SPEAKING OF PRIVACY: POLICE UNION URGES COP TO WATCH WHAT THEY SAY ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

In a recent blogpost, the LAPPL advised its members not to post anything on Facebook, Twitter or the like, as they are not guaranteed privacy.

(You’re just now figuring that out? Welcome to the party guys.]


THE FDA NAMES FOUR LOCO UNSAFE AND OTHERS SEE $$$

Callie Schweitzer at Neon Tommy has the story:

When the Food and Drug Administration deemed Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic beverages unsafe, Dennis Roberts saw a business opportunity.

The 23-year-old Roberts and two of his friends are the entrepreneurs behind LegalizeLoko.com, a site dedicated to selling “Legalize Loko” T-shirts and other merchandise.

The slogan plays on the popular American Apparel line “Legalize Gay” and “Legalize LA.”

Though all three Los Angeles residents have full-time jobs, Roberts said, “It’s a business, and we’re taking it very seriously.”


FULL BODY SCANNERS AT SOME COURTS

The AB reports:

Taking a trip during the holidays isn’t the only time that people might get a full-body scan to pass through security. People heading to court to testify, get a restraining order, pay a ticket or answer criminal charges could also face a full-body scan at courthouses.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which is in charge of protecting federal judges nationwide, is exploring their use at federal courthouses. And two state courthouses in Douglas and El Paso counties in Colorado have already deployed full-body scanners that use radio waves to detect all objects on a person, including paper

Naturally some of these scanned pictures have already been leaked and posted on the web.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Courts, criminal justice | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. Sure Fire/Nikki Says:

    Routine now for backgrounds to extend to social sites. I agree with it. Too many idiots have been hired in the past due to lax standards and they need to be tightened up.

    Good court decision on the discarded butt.

  2. Sure Fire/Nikki Says:

    To follow on that real quick, I believe a smaller agency failed Rafael Perez before LAPD picked him up.

  3. Randy Paul Says:

    I agree with the court on the discarded cigarette as well. Sounds like a pretty desperate move by the attorney.

  4. Joe Rios Says:

    In the 20th century, young, ambitious business people created the automobile, the television, the airplane.

    This century, it’s a social network that compromises all of your privacy and beverages containing enough alcohol and caffeine to stop your heart.

    You can see which way we’re heading.

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