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Distribute your cellphone number at your own risk

May 19, 2010 Distribute your cellphone number at your own risk

Bill of Rights (From public domain.)

For decades, prosecutors have been able to avoid hearsay hurdles in presenting trial testimony about anonymous phone calls intercepted by police to alleged bookies and drug dealers. On May 18, 2010, Maryland’s highest court affirmed this hearsay-skirting doctrine in allowing testimony about an anonymous caller who called the defendant’s cellphone asking “can I get a 40,” which the trial judge allowed the police to describe as slang for a $40 quantity of cocaine. Garner v. Maryland, ___ Md. ___ (May 18, 2010).

Moral of the story: Beware whom you give your cellphone number to, lest the police seize your phone and you are unlucky enough to have a joker or serious caller asking to buy illegal drugs.

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