Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Judge OKs findings from police searches

Attorneys had moved to exclude evidence from stalking trial of police ‘watchdog’

September 17, 2003

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Police acted legally when they searched the home and backpack of a kidnapping and burglary suspect who happens to be a vocal police critic.

Dale E. McCormick -- who routinely videotapes Lawrence Police traffic stops while raining foul-mouthed tirades on officers -- had sought to suppress evidence police found after arresting him Feb. 16 on suspicion of breaking into the home of a woman who claims McCormick has been stalking her.

McCormick's attorneys argued, among other points, that police had no grounds for the warrantless search of the backpack and that a later search warrant for McCormick's home -- which sought evidence including computers, video equipment and any documentation of the relationship between the two -- was overly broad.

Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone disagreed. He found that jail officers legally searched the backpack after McCormick's arrest as part of a routine inventory search, and Malone said the application for a search warrant sufficiently described what police thought was in the home and why it was relevant.

"The search warrant was proper ... under all the rules that needed to be complied with," Malone said.

Malone also denied a motion to exclude evidence of the history of the relationship between McCormick and the woman, which began when they met in a class at Washburn University in 1997.

"Obviously, it would be impossible ... for the jury to look at this in a vacuum," Malone said.

McCormick's jury trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 17.

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