Who says the law is boring?

The always awesome SCOTUSBlog has a post up talking about the cases the Supremes will likely decide whether or not to hear on the 30th. We’ve talked about the DC gun ban potentially coming before them, but there’s another local case with potentially nationwide implication: a Baltimore incident that will dictate how far into your ass crack the cops can dig around without a warrant.

Docket: 07-284
Case name: Maryland v. Paulino
Issue: Whether the Fourth Amendment permits police to search for drugs hidden between a suspect’s buttocks cheeks during an arrest.

The text of the Maryland Court of Appeals decision – which as it stands says that a man (or woman’s) buttcrack is their castle – is interesting reading if you have a tolerance for lawtalk. From a citizen’s standpoint it’s interesting that apparently the law is pretty well established about whether the cops can snake their hand in your underthings: they can. The dissent authored by Judge Lynne Battaglia talk about a “reach-in” search and the plethora of cases saying that’s okay, so long as some modicum of your privacy is maintained.

The second dissent by Judge Dale Cathell is interesting simply because it reveals what a jerk he is.

I join Judge Battaglia’s dissent an d would further hold that when a person wears their
pants below the level of their buttocks, he or she is intentionally offering that area for
observation by the public and obviously has no expectation of privacy sufficient to prohibit
a police officer from also looking.

If a person wants to have an expectation of privacy in that area of his or her body, he or she should keep their pants up when in public.

It is my sincere hope that someday Judge Cathell has his sweatpants dip down a little too low and gets an anal probing from Officer Rubberglove. The suggestion that someone should reasonably expect to have their crack pried open just because they make poor fashion choices is just obnoxious.

2 Comments so far

  1. Tiff (unregistered) on November 15th, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

    He sounds like a very grumpy old man shaking his cane while he sits on his porch. "Ya damn kids! Get offa my lawn! And pull your pants up! Somebody oughta cavity search you…"

  2. Mike Licht (unregistered) on November 16th, 2007 @ 10:05 am

    Since the low-ride pants fashion originated in prison, implied buttcrack exam permission is a logical development.

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