South Dakota Supreme Court upholds legality of trash seizure

The South Dakota Supreme Court relied on the U.S. Supreme Court conclusions in California v. Greenwood in upholding the legality of curbside garbage searches. [State of South Dakota v. Wayne R. Stevens]

A review of these statutes shows no granting of authority to a municipality to place with its citizens an objective expectation of privacy in one’s trash when it has been put on the curb for city collection.

To establish a protected privacy interest in trash, a person (1) must have “‘exhibited an actual subjective expectation of privacy’” and (2) society must be “‘willing to honor this expectation as being reasonable.’”

The State of Oregon Supreme Court ruled in several related cases that no possessory interest in the garbage was retained once it was collected by the sanitation company, suggesting that there may be an reasonable expectation of privacy when the trash is curbside prior to collection. [See STATE OF OREGON, v. GARY DEAN DAWSON and STATE OF OREGON v. SHARON DAWN HOWARD]

Previous postings on this topic:

Check local ordinances before dumpster diving

Why your neighbor’s garbage is yours, or not

Law enforcement dumpster diving in Indiana

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2 thoughts on “South Dakota Supreme Court upholds legality of trash seizure

  1. Trash inspection has been a valuable tool in many different types of cases.
    Keep up the good work.

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