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05-19-06, 01:16 PM #1
You can get the runs but you can't hide
Stole the headline from Fark.com, thought it was too good not to share
Police officers who forced a drug suspect to drink a laxative in hopes of recovering a swallowed bag of heroin were within their rights, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Reversing an appeals court decision, the high court said police had a clear expectation that the laxative would help reveal evidence of a crime.
The laxative also may have reduced any danger to Tomas Payano-Roman if the bag had ruptured in his body, the decision said.
Payano-Roman's attorney, Tim Provis, called the decision a defeat for civil rights and said he was considering a federal appeal.
"The average person walking the streets of Milwaukee they'd say, 'Gee, cops shouldn't be able to do that.' Now the Supreme Court says go right ahead," Provis said.
In 2002, a Milwaukee County sheriff's deputy who was on a drug stakeout approached Payano-Roman and saw him swallow what looked like a plastic bag, according to court documents.
After Payano-Roman was arrested, medical workers decided he should take a laxative, and an officer gave him six doses. The next day, officers retrieved the plastic bag, and Payano-Roman was convicted of heroin possession, the records say.
A state appeals court ruled the laxative amounted to an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, but the high court disagreed.
In a dissent, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson noted that six hours passed between the arrest and administration of the laxative and questioned why officers didn't get a search warrant.
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