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Northern Idaho woman sues over warrantless search

Monday - 12/9/2013, 4:40pm  ET

REBECCA BOONE
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A woman has sued the city of Post Falls and police officials after her northern Idaho home was searched without a warrant.

In a lawsuit filed against the city, Police Chief Scot Haug, and several police officers in Coeur d'Alene's U.S. District Court last week, Melissa A. Miller contends she sustained physical injuries, emotional pain, lost wages and other damages because of the search.

According to the lawsuit, Miller and several other family members and friends were at the home on the night of Dec. 10, 2011, when police entered and said they were searching for a runaway juvenile.

Miller objected to the search, according to the lawsuit, when an officer allegedly said she was resisting and handcuffed her. Two of the people at the home informed police the juvenile had been at the residence earlier but had already left, and they described what the juvenile was wearing for officers, according to the lawsuit.

Miller contends that police not only searched the portion of the home that she lived in with her partner, Jason Dunnington, but also a room that was rented to another tenant as well as an adjacent apartment. It was in the rented room and the apartment that officers found marijuana, Miller said in the lawsuit, resulting in both Miller and Dunnington being charged with misdemeanor drug possession.

Those charges were dropped last year, however, after a judge said police had no legal right to search Miller's home without a warrant.

Miller claims that police also used excessive force when they illegally searched her home.

Post Falls city officials did not immediately return phone messages from the Associated Press requesting comment. Neither the city nor the police department have filed a response to the lawsuit.


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