Questions: (1) Does a peace officer need to get a warrant to search a suspect’s garbage left in an alley for collection? (2) Can an officer establish probable cause for a warrant from complaints about drug activity and the contents found during a trash-pull? (3) Is a “search all persons on the premises” clause in a warrant invalid?
Quick answers: (1) No, garbage that is voluntarily left in a public area for collection is not protected under U.S. or Ohio search and seizure laws. (2) Yes, probable cause could be based independently on the contents found during a trash-pull, but it could not be based solely on uncorroborated complaints about drug activity. (3) It depends. If there is probable cause to support a search of every person on the premises, then the clause isn’t invalid.