THE SUPREME COURT: Case of the Baltimore Rats

A complaint about rats in the neighborhood led William Gentry, a Baltimore health-department inspector, from house to house on Baltimore's Reisterstown Road until he came to the home of one Aaron D. Frank. One quick look showed the Frank house to be in "an extreme state of decay," and disclosed—as health-department officialese put it—a backyard pile of "rodent feces mixed with straw and trash and debris to approximately half a ton." But Aaron Frank refused to let the inspector in the house without a warrant. After Inspector Gentry was kept out a...

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