In Washington, Court Bans Random Checks of Motels

Court makes it unconstitutional to checks registers for criminals without suspicion of crime


Pok Ki Luangrath, owner of the Golden Lion Motel on South Tacoma Way, participated in the program to avoid undesirables who frightened guests and damaged motel property.

"It helped us," she said Thursday. "We didn't know how to deal with it."

JUSTICES RESTRICT ACCESS TO FILES

In another case decided Thursday, the state Supreme Court said state regulators illegally reviewed the bank records of a man accused of securities fraud, theft and other crimes.

After a complaint from a consumer, securities regulators from the state Department of Financial Institutions issued an administrative subpoena to Washington Mutual for a broad set of bank records belonging to Michael M. Miles.

Miles subsequently was charged with fraud, theft, witness intimidation and tampering. But Miles argued that evidence from the subpoenaed bank records should be suppressed, because he wasn't notified the government was accessing his files.

The court agreed, overturning the trial court and invalidating part of a state law that allows agencies to issue administrative subpoenas to third parties for private information.

"Just because a person engages in a business that is regulated (even pervasively) does not expose that person's nonbusiness related private matters to public inspection," Justice Charles Johnson wrote for the majority.

Rob Tucker: 253-597-8374

Staff writer Stacey Mulick contributed

to this report.

Copyright (c) 2007, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.