Jon Brodkin reports:
At 6:08am, on October 4, 2009, Trisha Oliver frantically called 911 from her apartment in Cranston, Rhode Island when her six-year-old son, Marco Nieves, stopped breathing. The Fire Department took Marco to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where he was found to be in full cardiac arrest. He died 11 hours later.
By 6:20am, Sgt. Michael Kite of the Cranston Police Department had arrived at the apartment, where he found Oliver, her boyfriend Michael Patino, and their 14-month-old daughter, Jazlyn Oliver. Kite observed a couple of stripped beds and linens on the floor, a trash can with vomit inside it, dark brown vomit in a toilet, and, crucially, a cell phone on the kitchen counter. Kite picked up the cell phone, and it was at that point—in the just-released opinion of a Rhode Island state court—that police proceeded to mangle a murder case and violate Patino’s Fourth Amendment rights by viewing text messages without a warrant.
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