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What’s in your garbage?

The Willamette Week, a weekly rag from Portland, OR, recently rifled through the garbage of some high-profile Portlanders and printed the results. They did so after Portland police had found evidence of drug use in the garbage of Portland police officer Gina Hoesly and used it to get a search warrant for inside her house:

Hoesly, a 13-year police officer who occasionally was an undercover decoy in police prostitution stings, became the subject of an investigation early this year, when she told police she’d been assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, Joshua David Rodriguez. Rodriguez has a history of drug arrests and convictions, and when officers booked him on assault charges, they found meth in his pocket.

Subsequently police began investigating Hoesly, hearing rumors from police informants that she had used drugs. On March 13 at 2:07 am, narcotics officers Jay Bates and Michael Krantz took her garbage. The order to do so came from Assistant Chief Andrew Kirkland, who dated Hoesly in the early ’90s.

Searching through her trash back at Central Precinct, they found traces of cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as drug paraphernalia. They also found a bloody tampon. They sent a piece of the tampon to the state crime lab, where forensics experts tested it for drugs, DNA and, for reasons that remain unclear, semen. The results of those tests have not been released.

The police didn’t seek a search warrant to take Hoesly’s trash because, as the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office conceded, officers didn’t at the time have sufficient evidence to convince a judge to issue a warrant. But once they had drug residue from Hoesly’s trash, officers were able to persuade Judge Dorothy Baker to issue a search warrant for Hoesly’s house. Inside, they found more paraphernalia and a diary that described apparent drug use. An indictment was issued in June.

Hoesly’s attorney successfully argued that this search was unconstitutional. City attorneys had argued that since the trash had been put out at the curb, it was public property. Willamette Week used that reasoning to search the trash of the mayor, the chief of police, and the district attorney. The mayor and police chief were not amused (the DA shrugged it off).

All in all, very interesting reading. Makes me want to rush out and buy a shredder, though I already have a pretty effective strategy for dealing with credit card receipts – I leave them in my pants pockets and let them run through the laundry before I throw them out. If you can pull a card number off them after that, my hat is off to you.

Via Alas, A Blog.

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One Comment

  1. R. Alex says:

    What a coincidence, that’s how I eliminate my paper trail, too!