New Mexico Supreme Court: Police Need Search Warrant For Motel Trash

Jul 1, 2014

  New Mexico's highest court has ruled that police need a warrant to search garbage placed in a motel dumpster.

The state Supreme Court split 3-2 in a ruling Monday that made clear the New Mexico Constitution offers broader protections against unreasonable searches than the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

The court's majority said the federal constitutional would allow police to freely search garbage left out for collection, but probable cause and a warrant is necessary in New Mexico — even for trash discarded in a dumpster outside of a motel.

Justices Petra Jimenez Maes and Charles Daniels dissented.

Maes said a warrantless search by police should be allowed because there's "no expectation of privacy in one's garbage disposed of in an open dumpster on commercial property."

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