Court: Hoisting Saggy Pants Not Illegal Search

Officer was trying to conceal, not reveal, when she found gun, court rules
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2010 2:52 AM CDT
Saggy pants enthusiast Frank Irving Wiggins, 24, was jailed on firearms charges.   (Minnesota Dept. of Corrections)
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(Newser) – Beltless criminals beware: if a police officer has to haul up your pants, it's a "wardrobe assist," not a search, even if he does find a gun, according to a Minnesota court. The court was told that a suspect's baggy jeans slid to his knees when he was ordered to raise his hands, the Pioneer Press reports. The female officer found a gun as she lifted them. "She hoisted his pants presumably to conceal rather than to reveal," the court wrote.

The appeals court rejected the argument that the gun was inadmissible as evidence in court, and upheld the saggy pants man's 5-year sentence for illegal possession of a firearm. The court, citing rap hit Pants on the Ground, stressed that it wasn't trying to "trample the privacy" of people who prefer baggy pants. "We are confident that our opinion will not be misconstrued to suggest that an officer can freely meddle with a person's clothes to the refrain, 'Pants on the ground, pants on the ground,' under the guise of providing public assistance," the ruling stated.

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