The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Yuck. Ewww. Blech:

Reversing a state Court of Appeals ruling, the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday approved Milwaukee police officers' use of laxatives in their 2002 search of a man who swallowed a bag of heroin during a drug bust.

By a 5-2 margin, the court found that police didn't violate the constitutional right against unreasonable searches when they gave Tomas R. Payano-Roman, now 36, cups of a liquid laxative called "Go Lightly" every 20 to 30 minutes so they could retrieve the drugs from his stool to use as evidence. Plainclothes officers investigating a tip had spotted Payano-Roman in the 1500 block of W. Mitchell St. April 12, 2002, and they saw him swallow a bag while they approached him.

After the recovered drug was allowed as evidence, Payano-Roman pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and was sentenced to 60 days in the Milwaukee County House of Correction.

In the court's majority opinion, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote that the search was reasonable in part because it involved medical professionals - Payano-Roman had been taken to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa after the arrest and handcuffed to a bed - and because the importance of using the drugs as evidence outweighed the intrusion for Payano-Roman.


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