|Munch, Self-Portrait with Cigarette, 1895|
During a recent Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) investigation into a grisly rape and homicide case police found DNA evidence on the victim’s body as well as the mattress of her bed despite the fact that the perpetrator had cut out part of the bed sheet in an apparent attempt to remove incriminating evidence. The Sheriff’s office even found a prime suspect, linked to the victim by videotape at a bar, but they had insufficient evidence to make an arrest.
Was the DNA found at the crime scene a match for the suspect’s DNA?
To find out the Sheriff’s Deputies followed the suspect. And finally while driving only a few blocks north of the apartment where the senseless crime occurred the Defendant made a mistake. He flicked his still moldering cigarette out the window. Deputies picked it up. Experts tested it and found a match to the DNA found on the victim. As your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer would happily tell you while drinking your best wine, no search warrant is necessary for personal objects which someone throws away because the act of discarding something shows that the person has forfeited his ownership interest in the property.