Greenback or Greenbag?

This dollar bill analysis brought to you by an otherwise insignificant case:

Patdown produced a lighter and the officer saw a straw protruding from the pocket. In the watch pocket was a folded dollar bill. Despite the fact the officer knew that dollar bills could be folded and contain drugs, the inherently legal nature of the dollar bill prohibited the officer from searching it. Grandison v. Commonwealth, 2007 Va. LEXIS 79 (June 8, 2007).

When I read that, I thought it was totally outrageous, so I looked up Grandison v. Commonwealth. I found entire cases having to do with the folding of dollar bills like this one:

In theory, of course, someone might manipulate a dollar bill in this manner simply for the origami fun of it or for wholly innocuous utilitarian purposes (like packaging vitamins or rock candy).

Despite acknowledging that dollar bills can be great fun, the court concluded that:

The circumstances of this case and Snell’s flight from police, his act of discarding something from his pocket while on the run, and his manipulation of a dollar bill into a four-fold square container in a manner characteristic of illegal drug packaging provided the officers with probable cause to unfold the folded dollar bill and seize the cocaine found within.

In conclusion, if you are thinking about keeping your coke in a dollar bill, you better find a nice place to hide it.

(via forthamendment.com)


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