Sunday, January 6, 2008

Warrantless Search and Seizure. DNA Left on Chicken Bones.

Thanks to Colonel Sanders millions of Americans are addicted to the finger licking flavor of fried, broiled, or barbequed chicken. The simple act of licking an envelop, placing a stamp on a letter, or eating a piece of chicken will leave enough DNA for a modern Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) to identify the person who licked the envelop, touched the stamp, or ate the chicken.

Kansas City, Missouri police used DNA evidence found on chicken bones at the scene of a burglary to trace a suspect whose DNA was in the Data Base.

A trail of chicken bones left at a burglary scene more than a year ago has led investigators to a Kansas prison inmate with a hardy appetite for chicken.

Authorities on 3 January 2008 charged John Wyatt Weaver, 43, of Kansas City, with two counts of burglary and one count of stealing a firearm. Weaver is already serving time at Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas for an unrelated crime.

Police tracked down the suspect through DNA left on six chicken bones strewn throughout a Gladstone apartment where several firearms were stolen in November 2006.

"The facts of this are more amusing than anything I can say," said prosecutor Daniel White.

Weaver is accused of entering two Gladstone homes on Nov. 23, 2006, court records show. At one of the crime scenes, the homeowner reported several shotguns, rifles and handguns missing.

Investigators at the scene found chewed-up chicken scattered around the residence - leftovers authorities believe were stolen from a refrigerator at the earlier burglary.

The Kansas City crime lab examined the bones for DNA evidence. White said the DNA on the bones matched that of Weaver, a convicted felon whose DNA had been entered into the national database.

Was this a warrantless search? Yes. Was it reasonable? Perhaps.
Was it in violation of the 4th Amendment of The US Constitution that guarantees all Americans the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and affects against unreasonable searches and seizures unless pursuant to a warrant issued after a showing of probable cause before a neutral and independent magistrate? Yes, I think it was.

And did this force the accused to be a witness against himself and give self incriminating evidence in violation of the 5th Amendment? It quite possibly did.

How long will it take for these kinds of cases to work their way up through the State and Federal Courts to the Supreme Court?

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