In a highly anticipated case (Maryland v. Paulino, Supreme Court Docket# 07-266)
involving the scope of a search incident to arrest and the Fourth Amendment, Supreme Court scholars are anxiously watching to see which lawyer will be achieve fame and enter legal history by being the first lawyer ever to use the words “buttocks” , “ass cheeks”, and “ass cracks” in a public legal argument with Justices Scalia and Thomas.
The information is on the Supreme Court blog HERE
(scroll down to the petitions for cert on 11/15/07)
The Defendant testified at the suppression hearing:
[Mr. Paulino]: They had searched me in my pockets, didn’t find nothing, and
eventually, they came to the subject where – in my report, it states that the
officer said, Mr. Paulino, why is your butt cheeks squeezed? And in further
response, I said nothing. He said it again, and another officers come behind
with gloves and pulled my pants down and went in my ass. Well, my cheeks.
Sorry about that.
The Maryland Court framed the issue this way:
Did the search of Petitioner, which involved an officer putting on
plastic gloves and spreading the cheek s of Petitioner’s buttocks to reveal drugs
which were not visible before that time, violate the Fourth Amendment, when
the search was con ducted in the parking lot of a car wash in the presence of
individuals other than the searching officer?
This case affects Miami in many ways. Beyond the legion of leering police officers just waiting for permission to legally shove their hands downs the backsides of models sashaying down Ocean Drive, the question remains whether the “hip/hop” fashion of wearing pants below the waist is constitutionally significant?
From the Maryland Appellate Court:
It remains un-clear whether Paulino ’s pants were below his waist as a result of his
removal from the vehicle in the course of the arrest, or, whether Paulino intentionally wore his pants below his waist as a part of a fad. Even if Paulino intentionally wore his pants below his waist and his undergarments were exposed , we conclude that because Paulino’s pants were below his waist he retained, nevertheless, a Fourth Amendment right to privacy in his person.
Will Justice Souter and his clerks stroll down the hallowed hallways of the Supreme Court with their pants hanging fashionably low, shouting out a “Yo! My Dog” to Chief Justice Roberts as they pass him by?
Will Miami lawyers now be able to recreate the search of their fetching clients in the private confines of their offices without fearing Bar reprisals?
There’s no “backing” away from this controversy. This case will not fall between the “cracks”. Which Supreme Court Justice will be “ass”igned the opinion?
Somehow, this whole Fourth Amendment issue appeals to our own prurient interests. See, Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
See You In Court, reading the latest cases from the Supreme Court so we don't get caught "behind" the new changes in the law.
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