Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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Illegal Search and Seizure (1959)

(This story was originally written and recorded for Podcast #66, released on September 22, 2013.)

This story falls into the “you have got to be kidding” lawsuit category.  It seems that brothers Frank and Joseph Gaito were both severely wounded in a gun battle that erupted when they broke into Patrolman Gregory Scorzafave’s home in Pittsburgh, PA.

The bullet was removed from Frank’s stomach by Dr. William Gates on February 28, 1959.  That bullet was then used as evidence against Frank in court.  He was convicted and sentenced to a 13 to 37-year term in the slammer.

The lawsuit, filed by Frank’s wife, claimed that the removal of the bullet by the surgeon was “illegal search and seizure” and sought $250,000 in damages.  That’s nearly two million dollars adjusted for inflation.  

My conclusion: Since they are claiming the removal of the bullet was illegal, the implication is that the hospital should have just left Frank bleeding to death on the ground where he was found.

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