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State Supreme Court denies Rowan's request her constitutional rights were violated

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The State Supreme Court said it was okay for law enforcement officers to search a western Wisconsin woman's body, her car and her home for weapons anytime, even for no reason.

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The order applies to Tally Rowan, 36, of Ellsworth, as part of her extended supervision after she was convicted of battery to a police officer. Rowan claimed that the search provision was too broad, and it violated her constitutional rights.

But the Supreme Court unanimously disagreed this morning. Justice Pat Crooks said the searches may "impinge on constitutional rights," but they do not violate those rights.

Rowan got into a drunk driving accident in western Wisconsin in 2008. She had a gun in her car, and she threatened to shoot ambulance personnel who arrived to help her. At the hospital, Rowan injured the thumb of a police officer who held her down so she could get medication.

She also threatened a judge while in jail, and the Supreme Court ruled that Pierce County Circuit Judge James Duvall had properly tailored the conditions of Rowan's extended supervision to the facts of her case.

The court said random searches of prisoners have long been considered constitutional, and that convicted felons on supervision also have "a severely-diminished expectation of privacy."

But the justices said the searches of Rowan are limited to looking for guns, and those searches must end when her three-year supervision period ends.

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