Let’s say you’re on probation, and officers have previously found marijuana at your residence. Let’s further say that you’re thinking about having a friend send you a huge package of weed from California in the mail.

Let me give you a piece of advice in such settings. Do not — I repeat, do not — go to your local post office shortly before this shipment and ask the postmaster whether your local post office conducts dog searches to look for drugs in the mail. Because you know what? Once you ask, they will. At least with respect to your post office box.

And entirely rightly so. Your question alone generates reasonable suspicion up the ying yang. So when your post office box gets a handwritten package addressed to a strange dude who’s not you, guess what? They’re going to search it. And no one — not the district court, the Ninth Circuit, or your local law professor — will have the slightest problem with that.

Good advice from a lawyer
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21 October 2010