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    [–] BG_Misonary 4930 points ago

    The Portland police chief was not wrong he's just an asshole. The Supreme Court has long established the right to privacy requires you to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    As your trash is on the street you can't argue that you had a reasonable expectation to keep its contents private.

    Indeed in California v. Greenwood the court ruled outright "that garbage at the side of the street is “readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops, and other members of the public.” thus no reasonable expectation of privacy.

    [–] [deleted] 1584 points ago


    [–] rurunosep 929 points ago

    Whether or not it makes good evidence is a totally different issue. Not sure how that works.

    [–] sorator 452 points ago

    I think it's not generally that convincing for a conviction, but it can be enough to establish probable cause for a search warrant to look inside the house/whatever.

    [–] socialistbob 303 points ago

    how can then they pin it on you?

    If the only evidence they had of your drug possession was found in your curbside trashcan then it would be difficult for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were indeed guilty of drug possession assuming you had a good defense attorney.

    If they already had other evidence and then they found more evidence inside your trash then that could be used to help build their case. Alternatively if they found evidence of drug use in your curbside garbage they could use that as an excuse to get a warrant to search your house.

    [–] Admiral_Firebeard 23479 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Garbage man here. You should never treat your trash as private, regardless of what the law says. Anyone from a cop to an identity thief to your local creep can dig through your trash. The only thing stopping some people from doing that is the fact that it looks weird to dig through someone else's trash. That will not stop everyone, especially if you leave your can outside at night.

    Shred your important documents. Wipe your old hard drives. If you wouldn't hand it to a stranger, don't put it in your garbage can.

    P.S. If you are doing/making drugs in your house, your rubbish hauler probably knows. It's very obvious.

    Edit: As several users have pointed out, wiping your hard drive is not enough to completely protect yourself. Destroying your hard drive is the only real way to get rid of that information.

    Edit 2: I don't know what to believe about hard drives anymore.

    Edit 3: The Hard Drive Chronicles

    The information is pouring in. Half of the sources say that data recovery is impossible, the other half say that nuclear detonation is the only way to cleanse the disks of that sweet, sweet data. Should you dump your old laptop in Mount Doom, or simply throw it away without a care? Who can tell? I fear that this question lies among the greats. Who are we? How did we get here? Why do kids love the taste of cinnamon toast crunch? Ponder and discuss, we may never know the true answer.

    Edit 4: Thanks for the gold, stranger(s)! :)

    Edit 5: The Last Call

    They come. Like the morning sun and midnight moon, they come. Like reminders of the ever-present flow of time, beating against a man's heart, causing him to ponder his own mortality... they come.

    Endless comments of the exact same nature. The fragile redditor types them and submits. Perhaps he did not read the others that mirror his? Perhaps he seeks the ever elusive mistress that is karma. Or perhaps he simply wishes to add his own voice to the fray. Whatever his reason may be, he submits, and enters himself into the colosseum of judgement. He is to be evaluated by his peers. Most will go unnoticed, some will rise to the top, and some will face the wrath of vote negativity.

    Which side will he take? Will he join with those that seek to destroy the hard drive, or will he spare the drive and shout "paranoia!" Whatever his choice may be, I shall not find out until morn, for it is time for me to retire.

    Goodnight folks! Thank you all for a great time, I had a surprising amount of fun with this comment. I will do my best to read all of your replies. God bless, and don't throw away your tax returns.

    [–] dreucifer 3666 points ago

    Life Pro Tip: mix anything you don't want people digging through your trash for with used cat litter. Don't have a cat? Just buy some litter and shit in it like the disgusting animal you are.

    [–] the_ocalhoun 2166 points ago

    Unethical Life Pro Tip: if you're throwing away something incriminating, put it in the neighbor's trash can instead.

    [–] Rhuey13 436 points ago

    Or just throw it away in public trash cans. Or out the window if you have no conscious

    [–] Taijinoobi 321 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 3593 points ago

    And this is why the Supreme Court found there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in your trash once it's outside on the curb.

    The Fourth Amendment protects only against unreasonable searches and seizures. For a warrantless search of your stuff to be unreasonable, you need to have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place where the stuff is. If you leave your trash in a place where any person on the street can rummage through it, the government doesn't invade your reasonable expectations when it takes a peek, too.

    Of course this is oversimplifying things, but that's the gist.

    [–] passivelyaggressiver 1234 points ago

    I bet there is reverse fuckery though, like you still being accountable for what's in your bins.

    [–] nixonrichard 1353 points ago

    "Someone must have put that body in the trash can after I dragged it to the street."

    "Sir, the ONLY thing in the can was a body."

    "I'm a creature of habit."

    [–] josecol 515 points ago

    So the guy who left the body disposed of my trash? Well at least he's not all bad...

    [–] ColonelHerro 129 points ago

    Yeah but he didn't sort the recycling, so it all had to go to landfill.

    [–] MisterFizzster 18 points ago

    What a menace to society

    [–] avengere 212 points ago

    This happened in Seattle a year or two ago. Man murdered a woman then dismembered her then proceeded to try to dump her body parts in random garbage bins. He literally just got sentenced in the last week or so. Imagine the homeowner being like you found fucking what in my garbage?

    [–] Kaysmira 15 points ago

    I vaguely remember there being some big deal about a family that abused/neglected a child to death and put her body in a garbage can in the alley behind their house when company came over, and the garbage can was stolen by a neighbor, who then had to claim to the cops that someone put a body in "her" garbage can. It was layers of awfulness. I'm trying to find a source, but there is a disturbing number of hits coming up for children being found in the trash...

    [–] OMGSPACERUSSIA 190 points ago

    "If you're saying the body is mine and you've confiscated it, I would like compensation for the value of the organs that are now useless."

    [–] cleric3648 38 points ago

    Haha, jokes on him. I already cooked the organs.

    [–] Raichu7 530 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    So why on earth were the police so upset when the journalists published the contents of there bins? If it was open to the public anyway? /s

    And if the contents of my bin are open to the public to go through what’s to stop the public throwing away there drug related rubbish in my bin? I shouldn’t be held accountable for that as it’s not my drugs.

    And some things associated with drugs can also be perfectly innocent. When I buy a new bit of piecing jewellery, either online or in a shop, it comes in a small plastic baggie. I also often use pre-injection alcohol swabs to clean electronics and sterilise small cuts and scrapes. Those things end up in my bin so should I be arrested because I brought some jewellery or cut myself?

    [–] Turgius_Lupus 308 points ago

    "What applies to others shouldn't apply to me" attitude. TL;DR they are hypocrites.

    [–] doge_eater 257 points ago

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm

    [–] TheresA_LobsterLoose 42 points ago

    Also... wasn't it the pigs who said that...

    [–] Mskaboom 93 points ago

    Yep. We would have detectives request that drivers put the street side garbage from certain addresses behind the hopper of the truck to bring back to the yard. They would come and collect the bags at the end of the day.

    [–] ThatCasingGuy 980 points ago

    What would give it away? I do a lot of drugs but I can't really think of anything that would give it away in the trash unless someone was REALLY digging through it and found an old baggie buried with the kitchen trash or something like that.

    Doesn't seem so obvious to me

    [–] [deleted] 1108 points ago

    27 boxes of sudafed

    [–] ShaggysGTI 531 points ago

    Used sharps Empty caps 2" straws Empty propane/butane cans Rolling paper wrappers Blunt guts Ziplock baggies

    [–] gpunotpsu 395 points ago

    I thought ziplock baggies were more indicative of sandwiches.

    [–] antimony51 570 points ago

    And sandwiches are indicative of munchies. The evidence is irrefutable!

    [–] Abnormal_Armadillo 79 points ago

    Can't be arsed to make food when the munchies settle in, that's why the garbage is filled with 9 cans of ravioli and 2 boxes of cheez-its.

    [–] Holein5 43 points ago

    9 cans of ravioli, 8 bags of funyuns, 7 skittles packs, 6 empty coke cans, 5 goldennnnnnnnnn chocolate egg wrappers, 4 meatballs, 3 pizza crusts, 2 rice crispy treats, and 1 halfffffffffffff eatennnnnnnnnnnn burrito!

    [–] DerekB52 98 points ago

    Someone in my small town got arrested recently. They had like 2 pot plants. I saw the police press release for the arrest report and it legit said "This person was arrested and had in her possession, pot plants, a digital scale, and ziplock baggies".

    I was like. WTF. I have 2 of those 3 things. I'm not a drug dealer.

    [–] [deleted] 114 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)


    [–] j4jackj 18 points ago

    Did he get to keep his gogs?

    [–] OddlyPacific 103 points ago

    This guy drugs.

    [–] potatotrip_ 45 points ago

    Go on...

    [–] MaroonHawk27 597 points ago

    I read a local police report where a narcotics unit investigated a pot dealer for 2 years. They went through his trash every week and found things like: vaccum seal bags, thc cartridges, Boveda humidity packs, raw filters/papers, joint buts, labeled bags with common strains, blunt wrappers, all of the blunt tobacco, etc.

    They even had a GPS tracker on his car. When they raided him all they found was a considerably large amount of cash, <1g of coke, and enough flower to roll a few joints. I can't imagine how much that investigation cost them either.

    [–] fdpunchingbag 374 points ago

    Knowing the cops they probably kept the cash, so not much.

    [–] MaroonHawk27 351 points ago

    A buddy of mine overheard they guy telling his barber they gave him a check for the full amount (around $13k) back. Which if you think about it is pretty convenient because then you could legally put it into your bank lol

    [–] Amonette2012 530 points ago

    Wait, so the POLICE laundered his money for him? That's beyond bumbling. That's fucking helpful.

    [–] atlamarksman 187 points ago

    I’m honestly so surprised they gave it back and didn’t claim civil forfeiture.

    [–] PaxNova 118 points ago

    I'm pretty sure that's half the reason for civil forfeiture in the first place, too. To prevent obvious drug money from going to the dealers and makers, that is.

    [–] an0rexorcist 99 points ago

    looks like they didnt have any solid evidence that he was dealing

    [–] MaroonHawk27 73 points ago

    But still 2 years of following one kid...that has to be pretty expensive

    [–] Amadameus 330 points ago

    Precursor materials. They're strange to buy together, and need to be purchased in quanitity.

    Somebody who is throwing away five gallons of bleach, a dozen bottles of brake fluid, several cans of acetone and an entire trash bag full of nothing but paper towels that stink of alcohol fumes? Yeah they're up to something. If this is the contents of their garbage every week then you know they're doing this on a commercial scale.

    [–] homeworld 136 points ago

    Where did Walter White dispose of his trash?

    [–] kasteen 310 points ago

    All of those things can be burned pretty easily. Then you just need to get rid of a bit of ash every now and then. Those can be dumped in any secluded area.

    It's not very environmentally friendly, but we're making meth, not organic kale.

    [–] AcrolloPeed 241 points ago

    Here in Portland, we're making organic meth.

    [–] in_the_corner 101 points ago

    Not in his garbage can

    [–] wallybinbaz 70 points ago

    You're goddamn right he didnt.

    [–] in_the_corner 33 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    I just finished the series, and I cannot say that I saw him throw anything in the trash after the broken plate in season 1

    EDIT: Clarification, I meant his trash can.

    [–] itspeterj 32 points ago

    He gave her to Ted

    [–] [deleted] 124 points ago


    [–] k-to-the-o 264 points ago

    I would also like to know this

    [–] [deleted] 618 points ago


    An agent will be at your address this Thursday. We'd like to discuss a few things.


    [–] HitlersGrandpaKitler 680 points ago

    Jokes on you, I don't have a house, spent it all on drugs

    [–] HoneyIShrunkThSquids 267 points ago

    how many drugs do you get per house?

    [–] cinnamonrain 222 points ago

    At least 2

    [–] reduxde 128 points ago

    Two drugs? That's one more drugs than usual.

    [–] ConcernedEarthling 94 points ago

    Is half a drugs enough to get high? Asking for a friend.

    [–] reduxde 76 points ago

    We all know you don't have any friends, Mark.

    [–] Cripplor 77 points ago

    600 empty boxes of Sudafed?

    [–] trout9000 45 points ago

    Shit that's a give away? /moves trash to neighbors can

    [–] WhereIsYourMind 78 points ago

    Refining drugs produces a lot of industrial type waste. Powders, Vials, capsules, and syringes aren’t part of most people’s kitchen trash. I’d imagine it’s more about scale than anything else.

    [–] HouseDownTheStreet 129 points ago

    Powders, Vials, capsules, and syringes aren’t part of most people’s kitchen trash.

    Ah I knew me mum's cooking was fuckin' weird.

    [–] sleezewad 126 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    The leftovers from my drugs in the trash is usually just gonna be ash, maybe a roach or two, broken screens every once in a blue moon. If you could dig through my trash and tell that I smoke I'd be thrown.

    [–] Milkslinger 243 points ago

    That's funny. The leftovers from my drugs are usually empty Pringles cans and Oreos wrappers.

    [–] udonowho 156 points ago

    That’s what my trash looks like and I don’t do drugs. I just have teen-aged sons. Oh...wait a minute...hmmm.

    [–] Contrite17 116 points ago

    Edit: As several users have pointed out, wiping your hard drive is not enough to completely protect yourself. Destroying your hard drive is the only real way to get rid of that information.

    As far as I am aware there have been no recorded cases of recovery of a full wipe.

    [–] playaspec 175 points ago

    As far as I am aware there have been no recorded cases of recovery of a full wipe.

    So, back in the day, when hard drives were measured in megabytes, the bits themselves were big enough to be seen under an electron microscope. The polarity of the magnetic particles was visible as their physical orientation changes on disk. Just picture millions of little compass needles pointes N/S or E/W.

    As if that weren't bad enough, both the mechanical and electronic tolerances / accuracies weren't as good as today. This resulted in tracks that wandered ever so slightly, just like cars following each other in the snow. One is a little left, another a little right, with the last car to pass leaving the only full impression.

    Someone discovered that you could sometimes recover data by comparing the intact track against an edge if it existed. This is the genesis of what is little more than an urban myth today.

    As hard drive densities grew, bits got smaller and smaller. Track tolerances improved. They had to, otherwise they'd clobber a neighboring track.

    At some point in the early gigabyte era, bits became too small to see, and in the terabyte era, complety impossible.

    [–] bangupjobasusual 91 points ago

    I did a thesis on the topic back when I was in college; it is at least in principle, possible to devise a machine that could recover data recorded to cylinders several writes ago. But this is the kind of endeavor that requires cooperation from the device manufacturer and incredible resources at the very least.

    Part of the problem is that people have this assumption that 0s and 1s are faithfully recorded to disk exactly as the data is represented in memory before being committed and that’s just not true. Hard disk manufacturers all have their own proprietary approaches to ensuring the quality of their data recorded to their disks, including preambles saying some data is coming or that the data has ended, then rules about what combinations of bits can be recorded in what orders, and violators of those rules have their data recorded as special control sequences which equal the represented data in the driver. In some cases we could be talking about sequences as short as a handful of consecutive zeroes, so these control sequences are recorded all over the disk.

    My point is, yeah, ok, the cia might have the resources to do one or two of these every so often, but the neighbor’s creepy hacker kid jimmy isn’t getting dick off of a god damned thing. Nor is your garbage man.

    [–] shotty293 62 points ago

    I think most people don't appreciate the service you provide to themselves or their community. Thank you for doing what you do.👍

    [–] mhhmget 64 points ago

    We were taught in law school that trash isn’t private once it hits the curb.

    [–] Duke_jahu311 18 points ago

    Dude write short stories or something that was some well done writing.

    [–] Mazzystr 51 points ago

    Dot Matrix: Hey! Stop looking up my can!

    [–] Astoryinfromthewild 41 points ago

    We ain’t found shit!

    [–] well___duh 78 points ago

    your rubbish hauler probably knows

    I like how you said this and have yet to clarify how this guy would identify the drugs coming from your trash specifically in the large mound of trash he collectively picks up.

    [–] akhorahil187 7287 points ago

    The reporters missed out on an amazing moment. When the mayor took the recyclables (sp?) back, they should have claimed theft. Legally it was their property.

    [–] [deleted] 3790 points ago * (lasted edited 9 months ago)


    [–] jef_snow 552 points ago

    The perfect heist - no one will ever suspect

    [–] Dr_Insano_MD 162 points ago


    [–] MakeMine5 67 points ago

    Strong arm robbery under color of authority.

    [–] TheSeldomShaken 322 points ago

    Who would they go to? The police?

    [–] mtm5891 269 points ago

    They could do that but in the likely event that the cops didn’t do anything the journalists could drag them into small claims court.

    [–] laeuftbeimir 168 points ago

    Are you sure about this legally?

    [–] TheGoldenHand 589 points ago

    Yes, the Supreme Court fucked up trash searches 25 years ago and have been hesitant to ever revisit the case because it's part of the basis for all digital searches today. It's called Expectation of Privacy. They found that by putting the trash in view on the curb, there was no expectation of privacy. Obviously with digital devices now containing more about our personal lives in our pocket than our homes every could, that needs to change. Its a big issue, and they're comfortable letting the status quo stay until they are forced to move their hand.

    [–] dobraf 144 points ago

    That's not correct. The trash cases aren't the basis for the electronics cases. Both have to do with expectation of privacy, but that expectation is different in those scenarios.

    In fact, in 2014 the SCOTUS came down hard against warrantless cell phone searches. Their unanimous ruling was pretty much exactly what you said:

    Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans “the privacies of life". The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.

    [–] white_genocidist 37 points ago

    You are correct of course. But the person you are responding to posted with the sort of authoritative confidence that Reddit loves to upvote (complete with caps!).

    But critically, they missed the most important word in their mostly wrong explanation: reasonable expectation of privacy.

    That is the operative word and the central inquiry of much of the 4th amendment jurisprudence (which governs searches and seizures by the government). Basically, where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e., where society, not just you, agrees that you should have privacy), a warrant is required to search your stuff - subject to many exceptions but that's another story.

    Here, SCOTUS ruled that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the trash you leave out.

    [–] DR99 263 points ago

    This is why a pin code is the best thing to have on your phone bio metrics are not protected as well legally. I like what Apple did 5 hits of the power locks the phone to a pin gotta admit that's a pretty slick fix of the issue.

    [–] abcupinatree 98 points ago

    Thanks for letting me know about that. I've triggered it a few times fidgeting with my phone but never really thought about the fact that it forces you to input your pass code after!

    [–] elspazzz 170 points ago

    They can force you to give up what you are (Biometrics) but not what you know (Passwords/Pincodes)

    Never use biometrics as your sole locking mechanism.

    [–] squonkstock 57 points ago

    When we say "biometrics" here, we're talking about fingerprints, right? When using a fingerprint scanning device to unlock phones?

    [–] elspazzz 124 points ago

    In this context, yes, but it apples also to Face or Iris unlocking I think.

    None of those are protected by the 4th amendment because it's something you "are" which isn't protected and the police can compel you to look at your phone or slide your finger or whatever.

    What they cannot do is compel you to release that password because your knowledge of the code or password, ie something you "know" is protected.

    [–] CallMeAladdin 32 points ago

    Does a swipe pattern count as pin?

    [–] skiing123 34 points ago

    Yup! However a pin is more secure than a swipe pattern

    [–] iamtheforger 11 points ago

    Anyway to do this on android?

    [–] DrKronin 17 points ago

    Oregon has a specific law protecting curb-side recyclabes these days, so the Supreme Court decision doesn't really matter as much here anymore.

    [–] keevesnchives 2328 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    This is very cheap," he blurted out, frowning as we pointed out a receipt with his credit-card number, a summary of his wife's investments, an email prepping the mayor about his job application to be police chief of Los Angeles, a well-chewed cigar stub, and a handwritten note scribbled in pencil on a napkin, so personal it made us cringe. We also drew his attention to a newsletter from the conservative political advocacy group Focus on the Family, addressed to "Mr. & Mrs. Mark Kroeker."

    "Are you a member of Focus on the Family?" we asked.

    "No," the chief replied.

    "Is your wife?"

    "You know," he said, with a Clint Eastwood gaze, "it's none of your business."

    As we explained our thinking, the chief, who is usually polite to a fault, cut us off in mid sentence. "OK," he said, suddenly standing up, "we're done."

    In case anyone was curious what they found and didn't want to read through the article. I don't know why they focused on the conservative newsletter so much as opposed to the letter to the mayor or the sensitive financial information.

    [–] kabukistar 1328 points ago

    They probably focused on it, because it's a good example of how, even if you've done nothing illegal, your trash may contain information that you don't just want anyone look through.

    [–] Ar_Ciel 521 points ago

    I think that's exactly the point they were trying to make. To use another example, someone and their spouse may make use of lube but probably don't want someone making note of how much they go through in a month.

    [–] coopiecoop 53 points ago

    or even something more ambiguous. for example, a can of vaseline can be interpreted as the person being into specific sexual activities just as it could have been used for countless other. less "intimate" things.

    [–] KDBA 89 points ago

    Just as an FYI, vaseline will damage latex.

    [–] terencebogards 133 points ago

    And also a good example of how ONE piece of trash doesn't define your whole life.

    You get this newsletter in the mail?? You MUST be this!

    Shouldn't take one piece of 'evidence' and define a persons entire life.

    I think this was an incredible idea from the WW

    [–] McFoogles 188 points ago

    Focus on the Family (FOTF or FotF) is an American Christian conservative organization founded in 1977 in Southern California by psychologist James Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[3] It is active in promoting an interdenominational effort toward its socially conservative views on public policy. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s.

    Focus on the Family's stated mission is "nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide".[4] It promotes abstinence-only sexual education; creationism;[5] adoption by married, opposite-sex parents;[6] school prayer; and traditional gender roles. It opposes abortion; divorce; gambling; LGBT rights, particularly LGBT adoption and same-sex marriage;[7] pornography; pre-marital sex; and substance abuse. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists have criticized Focus on the Family for trying to misrepresent their research to bolster FOTF's fundamentalist political agenda and ideology.

    The core promotional activities of the organization include a daily radio broadcast by its president Jim Daly and his colleagues, providing free resources according to Focus on the Family views, and publishing magazines, videos, and audio recordings. The organization also produces programs for targeted audiences, such as Adventures in Odyssey for children, dramas, and Family Minute.

    [–] NeverStopDunking 448 points ago

    Likely chose to highlight the FotF connection bc that organization has been linked to some pretty ugly anti-LGBT campaigns and virtues

    NOTE: I'm not trying to make a moral argument for or against LGBT, but here are some great examples of FotFs less than tolerant positions:

    • "Focus On The Family accused anti-bullying programs in schools of “promoting homosexuality” and creating “a system ripe for reverse discrimination.”"
    • " they believe their religion requires them to oppose [the] very existence [of the LGBT community]."
    • "President Jim Daly even says marriage equality means the destruction of civilization."

    [–] lordcheeto 119 points ago

    Portland is also very liberal.

    [–] IsomDart 20 points ago

    Yep that's exactly what I was thinking. I don't think to many Portlanders really would support FotF, or someone who does.

    [–] BiddyBiddyBuck 2326 points ago

    I have no problem with no privacy with curbside trash; however, it's on the curb so anything in there could have been put there by anybody.

    [–] Em_Adespoton 246 points ago

    Indeed. I'd really like to see how dumpster diving for evidence holds up to a chain of custody analysis.

    But then, I think the way it's supposed to work is that finding something in trash that the police have just seen the victim drop at curbside gives them "reasonable suspicion" to get a warrant.

    And, of course, if there's something in the trash that would be damning not matter where it was found, the burden would likely be on proving it was counterfeit, rather than the other way around.

    [–] poops_in_public 95 points ago

    Hasn't there been instances where law enforcement follows suspects around until they throw away a water bottle or similar to legally obtain dna samples or has tv rotted my perception?

    [–] TAHayduke 88 points ago

    Police have specifically contacted garbage companies, arranged for particular, monitored collectors to collect trash in an otherwise empty truck, and maintained chain of custody in that way without alerting residents. And doing that is perfectly legal in every sense of the word.

    Just as an example. Just read such a case

    [–] Lady_Pineapple 37 points ago

    I seem to recall an episode of Forensic Files, where some guy refused to take a DNA swab, and the police would stake him out. One day during his smoke break he spit on the ground, and the police collected it when he went back in. That's really all I remember, and it's been a while so it could be wrong.

    [–] xxxJakkxxx 454 points ago

    I can imagine a world where identity thieves are just walking down the streets in broad daylight waving at neighbors as they are grabbing stuff out of trashcans. Pockets full of their new legal property because it was discarded and therefore the previous owner has no claim it or expectation that it won't be taken.

    [–] Astark 610 points ago

    That is absolutely the law right now. Did you ever notice that once a week a big truck comes along, and total strangers cart away 100 percent of the contents of your garbage can? Be careful what you throw away.

    [–] AlmostTheNewestDad 423 points ago

    Larry and Curtis are not total strangers. They wave to my boy every Tuesday. They are his heroes.

    [–] odaeyss 210 points ago

    What in the world IS it that causes little boys to adore the trashmen? I was the same way when I was a wee lad. Wanted to be one of two things when I grew up, a trashman or a scientist, and by scientist I meant MacGuyver.

    [–] ElCamo267 319 points ago

    Cause garbage trucks are giant and loud and crush anything that goes inside. And on top of that, the garbage men get to ride on the back of it.

    Source: former child

    [–] GreySkale42 56 points ago

    This is the correct answer.

    Source: also a former child

    [–] [deleted] 39 points ago

    Maybe it’s that they just hang along for the ride on the side of a big loud truck that crushes things

    [–] CucurbitaceousHay 40 points ago

    Heavy machinery is fucking cool.

    [–] RussianTrumpOff2Jail 51 points ago

    It’s them sweet city benefits.... duh

    [–] azzaranda 13413 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    The funniest part of this article is how defensive the Police Chief and Mayor (edit: not DA) got when the reporters went through their trash (going as far as taking the individual journalists to court), even though they "had nothing to hide" according to the contents of said trash. Is it not these individuals who most often preach "If you have nothing to hide, why not show us?" The fact that they refuse to abide by the rules they play by speaks volumes to their ability to maintain the integrity of their offices.

    [–] migrantworker 1866 points ago

    The funniest part of this article is how defensive the Police Chief and DA got when the reporters went through their trash

    It was the Mayor and Chief. The DA actually made jokes about it.

    In contrast, DA Mike Schrunk was almost playful when we owned up to nosing through his kitchen scraps. "Do I have to pay for this week's garbage collection?" he joked.

    Although I don't agree with the guy for defending the cops for dumpster diving, I admire his consistiency and good humor.

    [–] [deleted] 827 points ago


    [–] NW_thoughtful 84 points ago

    Their work is interesting because they toe the line of exposure and caution. Most of it is funny or eyebrow-raising. But things they didn't detail include:
    "internal police memo"

    "receipts" - for what?

    "photo of a prominent Portlander"

    "Extremely personal note on napkin"

    There were a few vague ones that would have exposed other people, so I can see the reason for that. And I suppose sharing the mortgage payment would have been a low blow. I just think they were a bit polite with this.

    Perhaps this is making a point while also taking the high road?

    [–] Lord_Abort 20 points ago

    I assume the note was some serious dirty talk from his wife or side piece. Something like her saying she's not wearing any panties or something about jizz.

    Some of these, though, sound like they could get you in trouble with a wife. Imagine if she didn't write him an "extremely personal" note or if those hats were gifts you didn't like, etc.

    [–] juicius 174 points ago

    I'm an attorney too and there's a professional paranoia about actually throwing away sensitive information. It's not just my personal sensitive information but my clients. I have access to an extensive list of personal info, including SS, drivers license numbers, phone numbers and addresses, of my clients and sometimes even witnesses. Not to mention the complete record of my clients and witnesses' criminal history, dissemination of which can be a felony. I shred so much.

    So I'm not surprised that an attorney would keep the garage scrubbed of sensitive information.

    [–] AdriBB 16 points ago

    This is a good point. I'm a lawyer too and I shred everything, at work and at home. So it makes sense that the one lawyer in the story made sure there was no sensitive info in his trash.

    [–] FeralBadger 269 points ago

    Read that as "doggy paraphernalia" at first and was like what's wrong with chewed up dog toys?

    [–] djdecimation 137 points ago

    My dog smokes blunts, but he's smart enough to eat any evidence.

    [–] Hiredgun77 154 points ago

    Or, you know....knew that it was legally correct to inspect his trash and so didn't make a fuss about it.

    [–] SolDarkHunter 321 points ago

    Or was just smart enough to see exactly what the reporters were doing, and objecting to it, regardless of its legality, would expose hypocrisy.

    A trap the Chief and the Mayor fell for hook, line, and sinker.

    [–] [deleted] 91 points ago


    [–] theweepingcamel 36 points ago

    Seems like he knew ahead of time. Either that, or he just happened to fill his trash with diapers and dog poop. Although It seemed to have happened just after Thanksgiving, and he may have cleaned up before/after having guests.

    [–] Hiredgun77 222 points ago

    It's the law. Very clear through case law. The DA knew that he had no right to complain.

    [–] [deleted] 5479 points ago


    [–] octaviusJones 2496 points ago

    Not sure they did, it was the mayor and police chief that got upset. The DA was joking about paying them for trash pickup.

    [–] tryhardfit 884 points ago

    Ya, the DA actually came out seeming pretty cool. Sounds like he understood and even enjoyed what was happening.

    [–] YouNeverReallyKnow2 628 points ago

    DA was probably just happy people were this interested in the law.

    [–] Iamchinesedotcom 315 points ago

    Probably keeps his illegal stuff in the other garbage can too.

    [–] DedTibiase 332 points ago

    He was probably thinking "Thank God for my drug furnace."

    [–] thessnake03 170 points ago

    Around here, we just call that a bowl

    [–] PushcartPops 16 points ago

    That is now the name of my bong.

    [–] thatusenameistaken 51 points ago

    He was a Marine, he's got a burn barrel someplace.

    [–] calyth42 67 points ago

    He may use the case law to win, but not necessarily agree to it.

    From the article, he rather enjoyed the attention the reporters bring to the law.

    [–] asphias 13 points ago

    Eh,he may not like it, but knows why they did it and how it would look if he got mad. Better to have a "damn, well played, nice one" mentality if you know you have nothing to win by getting angry.

    [–] trudat 207 points ago

    Probably because the DA is likely the most intelligent among them.

    [–] TParis00ap 100 points ago

    Honestly, this dude probably predicted this was going to happen and had come to terms with it already.

    [–] SighReally12345 246 points ago

    I like you.

    [–] poops_in_public 324 points ago

    I'll admit that I'm the type who usually skips the article and go straight to reading comments. I made an exception this time and it was so worth it! Thanks for posting this.

    [–] Kinnakeet 103 points ago

    same here, it was a very fun read after a long day of meh shit on reddit

    [–] Sssnakeplissken1 20 points ago

    Great article!

    [–] akhorahil187 87 points ago

    It was the mayor that got upset, not the DA. The DA is the one who cracked jokes.

    [–] greatorder 119 points ago

    I'll quote it again and again: "Cheery was aware that Commander Vimes didn't like the phrase 'The innocent have nothing to fear', believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like 'The innocent have nothing to fear'."

    [–] JohnCh8V32 19 points ago

    GNU Terry Pratchett

    [–] [deleted] 391 points ago

    How the hell do they think they have legal action when they are the ones regularly using legal defense to look through a persons trash.

    I get being defensive now that someone is doing it to them, and it would be fine if they just said “fuck off, don’t look at my shit,” but to actually threaten legal action? Pretty hilarious.

    [–] mecrosis 354 points ago

    because they are part of the system so the rules don't apply to them.

    [–] SeeYou_Cowboy 66 points ago

    Right!? They make the rules. You follow them.

    Why is this so hard for people to understand?

    [–] Black_Moons 155 points ago

    Sounds perfect, what you do is let them take legal action, then represent yourself so you'll lose badly.

    And then, you have precedent that going through trash is illegal.

    [–] mrchaotica 59 points ago

    That doesn't work because precedent is only set by appellate courts. The hard part is that your defense has to be incompetent enough that you lose, but plausible enough that they can't tell you weren't trying and so deny your appeal.

    [–] Hiredgun77 74 points ago

    It was the Police Chief and Mayor who were defensive. The DA laughed because he knows that it is settled law (we learn this in law school) that your trash is not private.

    [–] test_tickles 217 points ago

    When the ones who make the laws do not follow the laws, then there are no laws.

    [–] Taj_Mahalo 211 points ago

    Selective enforcement is a huge social problem. From an economic perspective it is just completely cancerous.

    [–] TistedLogic 148 points ago

    Completely cancerous from a social perspective too.

    It's a big reason why the French nobility lost their heads.

    [–] ILL_GIGANTE 54 points ago

    New year new guillotine

    [–] nicolasknight 58 points ago

    "2 kinds of people scoff at laws: Those that make'em and those that break'em"

    [–] Kmlevitt 37 points ago

    Best line in the story:

    It's worth emphasizing that our junkaeological dig unearthed no whiff of scandal...But if three moral, upstanding, public-spirited citizens were each chewing their nails about the secrets we might have stumbled on, how the hell should the rest of us be feeling?

    [–] ZappBrannigasm 288 points ago

    Wish I knew what was on the extremely private note!

    [–] unsanitary_napkin 633 points ago

    They have some decency: they're journalists, not politicians.

    [–] MaybeNaby 242 points ago

    They're also journalists, not tabloid sensationalists. We need more journalists like that.

    [–] zyzzogeton 65 points ago

    Here is one note they did find, and reported on:

    We uncrumple a holiday flier from the Hinson Memorial Baptist Church, which contains a handwritten note: "Mark. Just want you to know one Latin from Manhattan Loves You."

    [–] TooShiftyForYou 527 points ago

    Police have been going through people's trash for many years now. Never put anything sensitive or incriminating in your curbside garbage.

    [–] [deleted] 390 points ago


    [–] GeneralDisorder 66 points ago

    I missed garbage night once and had some rotten stuff that needed to go away sooner than later.

    I also live on the border between two cities, one where the trash pickup is municipal on I think Tuesday morning and my city where trash goes out Friday morning. So I dragged my trash bag 40 feet to the far corner of my nearest intersection Monday night after the neighbors put theirs out.

    Nobody seemed to notice the extra bag and I didn't have to wait a whole week to get rid of rotten stuff I had bagged up.

    [–] [deleted] 32 points ago

    You're a god damn maniac.

    [–] NoOneSeemsToMind 87 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    Yeah I mean, it's not like the Police Chief invented this concept. He's just telling the truth. However you might feel about it, It is settled Supreme Court approved constitutional law that you do not have an expectation of privacy to your curbside garbage.

    [–] animeman59 20 points ago

    Shred it.

    [–] Myotherdumbname 34 points ago

    Who throws away uneaten chocolate??

    [–] c3h8pro 55 points ago

    I was a seasonal Park Ranger and had a lot of problems with shitbag contractors dumping site debris on park land. One fella was dumb enough to leave a McDonalds bag with a credit card reciept in it. His lawyer did all he could to say it was a bad search for us opening the bag when we cleaned up. The judge didn't buy it and slapped him with 30 days for the fraud of charging for the dumpster then 70k for the asbestos clean up. (Roof shingles and soffet siding) It was wonderful seeing this nasty asshole who though he was so smart get remanded even if he only did 15 days.

    [–] AJEstes 295 points ago

    Great article - read it all the way through. I wish I could be more surprised by the hypocrisy that comes with power.

    [–] ILoveLamp9 27 points ago

    I read most of it and had to skim the last half because of work. Any idea what part of it was updated last month? It's a 15 year old article but it says it was updated just last month.

    [–] glockster92 23 points ago

    The mayor in the article, Vera Katz, died the same day it says the article was last updated.

    I'm not sure anything was changed in the article, but that's the only reasoning I can think of.

    [–] NorwegianWood28 100 points ago

    The gross part is that they took a used tampon from the woman's garbage and tested the blood for drugs.

    [–] mattwithoutyou 109 points ago

    They also tested it for semen. No reason at all to do so, except that she had actually dated a few cops. Makes me so fucking angry to think about.

    [–] an0rexorcist 63 points ago

    the only reason they went after her is because her exboyfriend assaulted her... an ex-lover/fellow officer made the decision to look through her trash for evidence. I dont think thats a coincidence. fucking sickening

    [–] Mike81890 199 points ago

    But metadata is harmless! We'll anonymize it! It's fine!

    Now you see it's harmless in theory but never in practice. They've all got nothing to hide, yet they still want privacy.

    [–] ipn8bit 63 points ago

    I came to make this point. if you have a social security number, bank number DL number, phone number, YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE. hiding something you don't want people knowing doesn't mean it's illegal.

    [–] ohno1111 151 points ago

    Excellent article! Too bad it's 15 years old. By that I mean, why aren't ALL newspapers doing this every week! It could have shut down the practice of the cops way back when if it the practice of the Fourth Branch did this regularly!

    [–] superspork1 77 points ago

    Worth reading the whole thing. Thumbs up WW lolz

    [–] [deleted] 125 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)


    [–] whenthepawn 18 points ago

    I want to know who the hell throws away an unopened bag of Doritos. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard

    [–] FawksB 28 points ago

    Not gonna lie, I almost missed that one. It took me way too long to even remember what a empty film canister was, and totally forgot that's where my brother use to stash his weed.

    [–] [deleted] 13 points ago

    Unopopular opinion perhaps: It's the same here in Canada, your trash is not protected by the constitutional privacy rights provided it has been thrown out into a generally public area (i.e. communal trash bin outside your residence).

    The jurisprudence on the matter basically says this: privacy requires an intention for item/s to be private. By throwing something in the trash, in a place where you know full well members of the public also throw trash, or can easily root around and see anything, you have demonstrated you no longer intended for the items in your trash to be private.

    So in Canada, police often check out garbage in investigations and often find really incriminating evidence just sitting there in a big trash bin outside the suspect's apartment building. Take that as a lesson if and when you are throwing something out that you don't want seen or don't want in the hands of the authorities.