Minn. Appeals Court rules on saggy pants search

Published 8:09 am Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that pulling up the saggy pants of someone suspected of a drug crime isn’t an illegal search, even if it turns up a gun.

Those were the facts behind an unusual ruling Tuesday regarding a case that grew out of an incident in November 2008 in a White Castle parking lot.

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The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports St. Paul Police officer Kara Breci and her partner were on patrol when they saw something suspicious in a parked car.

Police ordered three men out. When Frank Irving Wiggins of Minneapolis put his hands up, his saggy jeans fell down. Breci hoisted the pants and found a handgun.

Wiggins was later sentenced to five years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm.

On appeal, his attorney argued the gun was found in an illegal search — but the court disagreed. Judge Kevin Ross wrote of Breci, “She hoisted his pants presumably to conceal rather than to reveal.”