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Privacy & Cigarette Butts

A California appeals court ruled yesterday on whether police must obtain a warrant before running a DNA test on a voluntarily discarded cigarette butt.  Citing a string of cases from other jurisdictions, the court answered in the negative:

By voluntarily discarding his cigarette butt on the public sidewalk, defendant actively demonstrated an intent to abandon the item and, necessarily, any of his DNA that may have been contained thereon.  The facts here show the DNA testing of the abandoned cigarette butt was carried out only to identify defendant as a suspect in an ongoing criminal investigation.  On these facts, we conclude that a reasonable expectation of privacy did not arise in the DNA test of the cigarette butt, and consequently neither did a search for Fourth Amendment purposes.

Danny Walsh of The Sacramento Bee has this story.  Hat tip to "How Appealing" for the link.

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