Law: Lifting The Lid on Garbage

The high court gives police broad power to search trash

Putting out the garbage is one of life's duller necessities. Last week that boring chore became a bit riskier. By a 6-to-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police may freely rummage through ordinary household trash left at curbside without obtaining a search warrant. The decision was welcomed by the law-enforcement community, which has learned that garbage contains a lot of incriminating ingredients, but it upset civil libertarians. They read the opinion as a tightening of the judicial noose around the already embattled right of personal privacy.

The court's pronouncement involved the garbage of Billy Greenwood of Laguna Beach, Calif....

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