The cops can look through your garbage. It's considered a legal search that doesn't violate your rights, and it happens all the time in Illinois. It came up recently in a Deerfield murder case, the one where the victim was the pregnant girlfriend of former Bears player Shaun Gayle.
After the police identified the defendant - a Chicago woman who was supposedly jealous of the girlfriend - as a person of interest, they began collecting her garbage. For more than three months, they went to her home every Thursday night around midnight (because trash pickup was Friday mornings) and took her bags of garbage.
The defense attorney was trying to get trash-can evidence thrown out, saying it was a violation of privacy for the cops to go through her garbage. The judge said the search was legal, which wasn't surprising. The law is pretty clear in this area.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
From Chicago's Real Law Blog: