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Montana Supreme Court OKs Search of Unconscious Woman’s Purse

The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that said illegal drugs found during a search of an unconscious woman’s purse are admissible as evidence in a case filed against her.

Michell Anders pleaded guilty to criminal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia, but reserved her right to appeal the evidence ruling.

Court records show Anders was found passed out on the floor of a Lewistown movie store on July 4, 2010. An employee called 911. A paramedic asked an officer to search the woman’s purse for identification and any kind of medical information.

The officer found evidence of marijuana and methamphetamine use.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the search was valid under the community caretaker doctrine, which allows officers to take actions to render assistance or mitigate danger.

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