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September 2004
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The police want to rub your knobs.

TalkLeft posted about the case currently in a District Court in Utah (and Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy discusses it some more).
Basically it involves cases where the police swipe your front door knob and test it for microscopic traces of drug residue that might have come from your hand. If it comes up positive, the police use that as probable cause to search your house. The question is whether the the swipe of the doorknob requires a warrant.
The legal question is quite interesting, academically. I lean to the notion that either the doorknob is private, in which case a warrant is needed to test it, or it’s public, in which case there’s no way to know who touched it and a positive test is not justification to search the house.
And I envision a scenario of someone putting some cocaine on their hand and going around grabbing doorknobs of enemies.
When it comes down to it, though, it’s just plain ridiculous that these procedures are even being considered. In my mind, it’s just one more in a long list of indignities (and intrusions on our freedoms) that the American people have been subjected to in the name of this failed war on drugs.
Update: More excellent commentary on this at Farkleberries.

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