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Montana Supreme Court: No Privacy Rights in Garbage

Montanans' right to privacy does not extend to their garbage that fills trash cans along alleys and curbs, the state Supreme Court has ruled. Taking out the trash is the same as abandoning such refuse, and law officers don't need a warrant to rummage through remnants of citizens' lives, the justices said in a 5-2 decision Tuesday. The court concluded that "when a person intentionally abandons his property, that person's expectation of privacy with regard to that property is abandoned as well."

Court: Garbage not protected by privacy right, Associated Press, July 20, 2005.