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glockman19
04-21-2009, 8:19 AM
The Supreme Court has ruled that police need a warrant to search the vehicle of someone they have arrested if the person is locked up in a patrol cruiser and poses no safety threat to officers.

The court's 5-4 decision Tuesday effectively limits the authority of police to search a vehicle immediately after the arrest of a suspect.

Spelunker
04-21-2009, 8:23 AM
got a link to that gem?

pullnshoot25
04-21-2009, 8:32 AM
WIN!

Dark&Good
04-21-2009, 8:44 AM
It's nice to wake up to more good news... :D

nat
04-21-2009, 8:45 AM
5-4...........I am guessing Kennedy was the deciding factor, with the liberal justices agreeing and the conservatives against?

Kid Stanislaus
04-21-2009, 9:32 AM
5-4...........I am guessing Kennedy was the deciding factor, with the liberal justices agreeing and the conservatives against?


That, unfortunately, is probably the case. Its pretty sad that conservatives seem to always want to come down on the side of the police even when their behaivor conflicts with civil rights. I'm not knock'n the police here, just pointing out that conservatives often have this locked attitude about police power and are oblivious to the civil rights considerations present. BTW, I'm pretty much a conservative myself but maintain some flexibility in my attitude concerning a wide range of issues.

kilrain
04-21-2009, 9:39 AM
The Supreme Court has ruled that police need a warrant to search the vehicle of someone they have arrested if the person is locked up in a patrol cruiser and poses no safety threat to officers.

The court's 5-4 decision Tuesday effectively limits the authority of police to search a vehicle immediately after the arrest of a suspect.

Here is the link to the slip opinion PDF. (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-542.pdf)

Glockman, your statement is only accurate if you are talking about a search based solely on it being incident to arrest, not a search based on probable cause.

Untamed1972
04-21-2009, 9:44 AM
I always thought however that if you're arrested and your vehicle is being impounded that the police must do an "inventory search" to document the contents of vehicle to avoid being sued for property that could later be claimed to be missing?

Will they now have to seal the vehicle with evidence tape when it is impounded until a search warrant can be obtained?

leelaw
04-21-2009, 9:48 AM
I always thought however that if you're arrested and your vehicle is being impounded that the police must do an "inventory search" to document the contents of vehicle to avoid being sued for property that could later be claimed to be missing?

Will they now have to seal the vehicle with evidence tape when it is impounded until a search warrant can be obtained?

I'll need to read the decision before a full answer can be given, but I doubt that it is affected. It sounds like this was in regards to someone being arrested, and then the car was searched because "hey, he's got a car.. let's search".. If this was during a traffic stop where the person was in control of the vehicle and arrested, and the vehicle is then being towed, an inventory should still be good to perform, since it's a liability issue.

Sounds interesting so far.

glockman19
04-21-2009, 9:52 AM
Here is the link to the slip opinion PDF. (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-542.pdf)

Glockman, your statement is only accurate if you are talking about a search based solely on it being incident to arrest, not a search based on probable cause.

I only coppied the text from the WSJ e-mail. It's their words not mine.

The link I had was only good for WSJ online subscribers.

Thanks for posting the actual decision.

CSDGuy
04-21-2009, 10:02 AM
I don't necessarily think that this ruling would affect an inventory of an impounded vehicle. It is a game changer about whether or not an officer can search a vehicle incidental to an arrest after the scene is secured though. The suspect is secured, so officer safety is no longer an issue, destruction of evidence isn't an issue... so if you believe that evidence of the crime you've arrested the suspect for is in the vehicle, get a warrant to search... and if you uncover additional items incidental to that search, all that stuff is fair game!

I'm definitely not a lawyer, and I'm basing this on my read of the summary of the case... but I think that's how things are going to be applied from here on out. I can see police officers now getting migraines due to this...

kilrain
04-21-2009, 10:06 AM
I always thought however that if you're arrested and your vehicle is being impounded that the police must do an "inventory search" to document the contents of vehicle to avoid being sued for property that could later be claimed to be missing?

Will they now have to seal the vehicle with evidence tape when it is impounded until a search warrant can be obtained?

I'm not quite through the entire opinion yet but inventorying the contents of a vehicle are most likely not addressed in this decision and acceptable. The problem(for the officers) was that they relied on what was believed to be well established, almost black letter, law regarding being able to search a vehicle incident to arrest. That was their claim when asked why and under what authority they conducted their search. The SCOTUS didn't agree.

MKE
04-21-2009, 10:08 AM
5-4...........I am guessing Kennedy was the deciding factor, with the liberal justices agreeing and the conservatives against?
Actually, Stevens delivered the opinion, while Scalia, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg joined.

kilrain
04-21-2009, 10:08 AM
I only coppied the text from the WSJ e-mail. It's their words not mine.

The link I had was only good for WSJ online subscribers.

Thanks for posting the actual decision.

No prob on the posting and nevermind about your quote then........

:)

CSDGuy
04-21-2009, 10:17 AM
I'll need to read the decision before a full answer can be given, but I doubt that it is affected. It sounds like this was in regards to someone being arrested, and then the car was searched because "hey, he's got a car.. let's search".. If this was during a traffic stop where the person was in control of the vehicle and arrested, and the vehicle is then being towed, an inventory should still be good to perform, since it's a liability issue.

Sounds interesting so far.
The driver of the car pulled into his driveway. The officers recognized the guy from previous contact that day and they knew that he'd had a suspended license and a warrant for his arrest for it. They arrested him and two or three other persons (controlling the scene) and searched the vehicle incidental to the arrest and found drugs, drug paraphernalia and a firearm. They didn't find evidence that related to the driving on a suspended license in the car.

This is going to make life a whole lot more difficult for Law Enforcement in the short-run. It's going to play havoc with warrantless searches of a vehicle due to their mobility... It's also going to cause DA's to scramble to make sure that their cases can survive without evidence gathered in incidental to arrest searches similar to the case that the SCOTUS just ruled on...

Untamed1972
04-21-2009, 10:17 AM
I'll need to read the decision before a full answer can be given, but I doubt that it is affected. It sounds like this was in regards to someone being arrested, and then the car was searched because "hey, he's got a car.. let's search".. If this was during a traffic stop where the person was in control of the vehicle and arrested, and the vehicle is then being towed, an inventory should still be good to perform, since it's a liability issue.

Sounds interesting so far.

Opening line of the descision: "Respondent Gant was arrested for driving on a suspended license, handcuffed, and locked in a patrol car before officers searched his car and found cocaine in a jacket pocket."

That's what prompted my "inventory search" question. I didn't read the whole thing, but I'm assuming (and perhaps incorrectly) that if he was arrested for driving on a suspended license it must have been during the course of a traffic stop, hence and inventory search would be required prior to impunding the vehicle incident to the arrest. No?

CSDGuy
04-21-2009, 10:18 AM
I'm not quite through the entire opinion yet but inventorying the contents of a vehicle are most likely not addressed in this decision and acceptable. The problem(for the officers) was that they relied on what was believed to be well established, almost black letter, law regarding being able to search a vehicle incident to arrest. That was their claim when asked why and under what authority they conducted their search. The SCOTUS didn't agree.
The State Supreme Court (IIRC) and SCOTUS didn't agree.

nat
04-21-2009, 10:20 AM
Actually, Stevens delivered the opinion, while Scalia, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg joined.

Now that is interesting, thanks!

CSDGuy
04-21-2009, 10:21 AM
Opening line of the descision: "Respondent Gant was arrested for driving on a suspended license, handcuffed, and locked in a patrol car before officers searched his car and found cocaine in a jacket pocket."

That's what prompted my "inventory search" question. I didn't read the whole thing, but I'm assuming (and perhaps incorrectly) that if he was arrested for driving on a suspended license it must have been during the course of a traffic stop, hence and inventory search would be required prior to impunding the vehicle incident to the arrest. No?
Actually, the arrest wasn't part of a traffic stop. The guy pulled into his driveway, the arresting officers recognized the car and him.

DDT
04-21-2009, 10:24 AM
Add another checklist item to being pulled over. "Try to get onto 'friendly' private property before stopping"

Untamed1972
04-21-2009, 10:28 AM
Actually, the arrest wasn't part of a traffic stop. The guy pulled into his driveway, the arresting officers recognized the car and him.

See...that's what I get for not reading the whole thing. But if they saw him driving the car on the street before he pulled into the driveway wouldn't that still make the car subject to impound?

kilrain
04-21-2009, 10:28 AM
The State Supreme Court (IIRC) and SCOTUS didn't agree.

Apparently.

Untamed1972
04-21-2009, 10:29 AM
The State Supreme Court (IIRC) and SCOTUS didn't agree.


sorry to side track, but in the months I've been here there are 2 acronyms that I haven't been able to decipher.

IIRC?

FUD?

Can someone please bring me up to speed?

CSDGuy
04-21-2009, 10:31 AM
See...that's what I get for not reading the whole thing. But if they saw him driving the car on the street before he pulled into the driveway wouldn't that still make the car subject to impound?
That's an area that Law Enforcement is going to have to research. Especially if the car is parked on private property that's under control of the suspect...

CSDGuy
04-21-2009, 10:32 AM
sorry to side track, but in the months I've been here there are 2 acronyms that I haven't been able to decipher.

IIRC?

FUD?

Can someone please bring me up to speed?
IIRC = If I Recall Correctly
FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Untamed1972
04-21-2009, 10:33 AM
IIRC = If I Recall Correctly
FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.


finally!!! :thumbsup: Now I feel like one of the "in crowd", one of the "cool kids" :cool2::cool2: LOL

kilrain
04-21-2009, 10:34 AM
See...that's what I get for not reading the whole thing. But if they saw him driving the car on the street before he pulled into the driveway wouldn't that still make the car subject to impound?

If they saw him driving the vehicle then the detention and subsequent arrest are perfectly legitimate. As for whether they can tow and store or tow and impound, that would be based on AZ law and Department policy.

CA_Libertarian
04-21-2009, 11:42 AM
Looks like another win for the Bill of Rights. This is shaping up to be an excellent week!

Publius
04-21-2009, 12:52 PM
But if they saw him driving the car on the street before he pulled into the driveway wouldn't that still make the car subject to impound?

Why would they need to impound a car parked in its home driveway? There's no reason it can't stay there. If someone is arrested on the side of the highway, the car is impounded because there's a valid policy against leaving abandoned cars sitting on the side of the highway. But there's no such problem with a car parked in its owner's driveway. They could seek to impound it for evidentiary purposes, of course, but then they can get a warrant.

Untamed1972
04-21-2009, 12:54 PM
Why would they need to impound a car parked in its home driveway? There's no reason it can't stay there. If someone is arrested on the side of the highway, the car is impounded because there's a valid policy against leaving abandoned cars sitting on the side of the highway. But there's no such problem with a car parked in its owner's driveway. They could seek to impound it for evidentiary purposes, of course, but then they can get a warrant.

Yeah....if it's in his own driveway that would make sense.

tyrist
04-21-2009, 1:08 PM
Officers screwed up on their reasoning. You search the car because you are doing an inventory of an impounded vehicle...which they could have impounded since the suspect was driving on a suspended license. This is the way it has been for awhile nothing really has changed.

The evidence should also still be discoverable since there was an authority to search the vehicle anyway.

Publius
04-21-2009, 2:25 PM
Officers screwed up on their reasoning. You search the car because you are doing an inventory of an impounded vehicle...which they could have impounded since the suspect was driving on a suspended license. This is the way it has been for awhile nothing really has changed.

That's true. That's certainly the way it is in California. I had assumed that Arizona law did not authorize impounding a vehicle merely because its driver had a suspended license, because SCOTUS did not discuss inventory searches pursuant to impound at all, but it turns out that Arizona DOES require impounding under those circumstances. So if the officers had held off for a little while and followed standard impound procedures, the evidence might have been found anyways.

N6ATF
04-22-2009, 12:24 AM
I always thought however that if you're arrested and your vehicle is being impounded that the police must do an "inventory search" to document the contents of vehicle to avoid being sued for property that could later be claimed to be missing?

Will they now have to seal the vehicle with evidence tape when it is impounded until a search warrant can be obtained?

Yeah, maybe the inventory search has to be conducted once it's at the impound lot, after the suspect has been booked. Of course you don't want Joe Tow Truck Driver getting in the vehicle to prepare it for towing unsupervised.

CA_Libertarian
04-22-2009, 12:46 PM
This is the way it has been for awhile nothing really has changed.

The evidence should also still be discoverable since there was an authority to search the vehicle anyway.

I think you don't realize the changes that have occurred here... as the court clearly states that there is no authority to search the vehicle unless you have a warrant, or meet a narrowly defined exception.

Accordingly, we reject this reading of Belton and hold that the Chimel rationale authorizes police to search a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only when the arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search

So, under this ruling all searches incident to arrest require a warrant.

Something else important to note: I've read nothing to indicate an "impounded vehicle inventory" is an exception to the 4th Amendment, so you'll need a warrant for that too.

Don't downplay this case so much... IANAL, but I believe this case is on par with Terry v Ohio when it comes to protecting the 4th Amendment.

I hope LE get on board with the implications of this decision quickly, as many bad people are going to get away with stuff if they don't. It sucks that it makes the job harder, but the court is correct in asserting that individual rights are of the utmost importance.

ETA: The court had this to say about the police "right" to search incident to an arrest:

Construing Belton broadly to allow vehicle searches incident to any arrest would serve no purpose except to provide a police entitlement, and it is anathema to the Fourth Amendment to permit a warrantless search on that basis.

sac550
04-22-2009, 1:13 PM
Officers screwed up on their reasoning. You search the car because you are doing an inventory of an impounded vehicle...which they could have impounded since the suspect was driving on a suspended license. This is the way it has been for awhile nothing really has changed.

The evidence should also still be discoverable since there was an authority to search the vehicle anyway.

I disagree, this is new law and will restrict officers from searching a car based on NOTHING but an arrest. The officers didn't tow the car in AZ so their was no inventory. Could they have towed the car based on just the arrest? No. There are now three 9th Circuit and several CA cases that say an officer can't tow a car just because the suspect was arrested. The courts have said their must be a "community care-taking" reason. i.e car parked illegally or suspect request it towed. So a vehicle parked legally on the street or on private party can't be towed, just because the suspect was arrested. 22651(h) VC.

Now their is authority to tow a car based on 14602.6 if the driver is the driver has a suspended DL and if the driver is 12500 (unlicensed) That would then allow LEO to search car. Could they have towed it in AZ and searched based on this legal exception? Don't know, depends on the law in AZ.

The courts will not allow a LEO to do a pretext tow, meaning they are towing the car just so they can justify searching it. That is why departments must have a written policy on impounding of vehicles and officers must follow that.

This decision doesn't stop officers from searching a car prior to a tow and it doesn't stop them from searching it based on reasonable suspicion that the vehicle contains evidence, fruits of a crime, etc. The motor vehicle exception was not effected by this decision. This case ONLY deals with a search based on an arrest for offense that wouldn't result in evidence being located in a vehicle.

For instance a driver is arrested for having a no-bail warrant for traffic tickets and car is parked legally in a parking lot. A search of the vehicle incident to arrest could not be made. There is reason to believe that evidence associated with the arrest may be located in the car.

However, if a driver was arrested for DUI, officer could then search the vehicle for evidence of their drinking, (beer cans, receipts showing purchase of alcohol etc).

jamesob
04-22-2009, 1:17 PM
That's an area that Law Enforcement is going to have to research. Especially if the car is parked on private property that's under control of the suspect...
the violation happened on a public road and even if he parked on private property the vehicle can be towed. i towed several cars that people thought they were in the clear and parked in driveways.

Theseus
04-22-2009, 1:20 PM
I have wondered what actually gives the police the authority to "inventory" the cars for impound. I remember clearly that every time I have had a vehicle impounded they declare they are not responsible for any theft or damage, so why do an inventory?

sac550
04-22-2009, 1:32 PM
the violation happened on a public road and even if he parked on private property the vehicle can be towed. i towed several cars that people thought they were in the clear and parked in driveways.

If you are basing your tow authority on VC 22651(H) you might want to read the Williams case. It is from Santa Monica PD and Court of Appeal said officer can't tow a car if legally parked. There is also a federal decisions saying the same thing, but I don't have those in front of me. If interested let me know and I can find them.


People v. Williams
(2006) __ Cal.App.4th __ [2006 WL 3616717]

Publius
04-22-2009, 1:40 PM
Now their is authority to tow a car based on 14602.6 if the driver is the driver has a suspended DL and if the driver is 12500 (unlicensed) That would then allow LEO to search car. Could they have towed it in AZ and searched based on this legal exception? Don't know, depends on the law in AZ.

As I alluded to above, Arizona does have a statute analogous to CVC 14602.6: ARS 28-3511 (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/28/03511.htm&Title=28&DocType=ARS).

I have wondered what actually gives the police the authority to "inventory" the cars for impound. I remember clearly that every time I have had a vehicle impounded they declare they are not responsible for any theft or damage, so why do an inventory?

Declaring that they're not responsible doesn't make it so, especially since impounding is not voluntary so they can't argue that you released them from liability by accepting those terms (the way a private parking garage can, for example). The police still would be liable if they steal something from your car. An inventory helps protect them against false accusations.

sac550
04-22-2009, 1:48 PM
As I alluded to above, Arizona does have a statute analogous to CVC 14602.6: ARS 28-3511 (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/28/03511.htm&Title=28&DocType=ARS).



Declaring that they're not responsible doesn't make it so, especially since impounding is not voluntary so they can't argue that you released them from liability by accepting those terms (the way a private parking garage can, for example). The police still would be liable if they steal something from your car. An inventory helps protect them against false accusations.

Hindsight is 20/20 on that. I can guarantee those officers WISH they had towed the car under that AZ authority and avoided seeing their name in this opinion.

DDT
04-22-2009, 2:22 PM
Declaring that they're not responsible doesn't make it so, especially since impounding is not voluntary so they can't argue that you released them from liability by accepting those terms (the way a private parking garage can, for example). The police still would be liable if they steal something from your car. An inventory helps protect them against false accusations.

This only protects the evidence people and those working in the impound yard. If the street cop were going to steal or plant something it would be added to or overlooked during the inventory as needed. So, taping the doors would be just as effective as an inventory in this case.

Publius
04-22-2009, 2:29 PM
Hindsight is 20/20 on that. I can guarantee those officers WISH they had towed the car under that AZ authority and avoided seeing their name in this opinion.

True. Discussion on Volokh Conspiracy says that impoundment was discussed on oral argument and the state claimed that they would not have been able to impound under the circumstances. The statute doesn't seem to have any applicable exceptions, so I wonder if the scope is narrowed by case law.

sac550
04-22-2009, 2:36 PM
Depends on how their statute is written. I have not read it. In CA they would have been able to tow the car per 14602.6 vc if his DL was suspended. The GRANT case doesn't change that nor narrow it from what I read in the majority opinion.

Dr. Peter Venkman
04-22-2009, 2:58 PM
This only protects the evidence people and those working in the impound yard. If the street cop were going to steal or plant something it would be added to or overlooked during the inventory as needed. So, taping the doors would be just as effective as an inventory in this case.

Not true. The RO of the impounded vehicle can still get property out of the vehicle while it is still impounded, granted that it is not being held for evidence. This case decision is not going to change much, but certainly has made a mess.

DDT
04-22-2009, 3:00 PM
Depends on how their statute is written. I have not read it. In CA they would have been able to tow the car per 14602.6 vc if his DL was suspended. The GRANT case doesn't change that nor narrow it from what I read in the majority opinion.

I think that you would lose on appeal. There is no reason to impound the car if it is on their property. It is now established that searches incidental to arrest require a search warrant. Therefore the VC is only a legislative work around to perform an illegal search. If 14602.6 permitted a search of a vehicle incidental to arrest then the legislature could easily pass a law permitting impounding a vehicle any time an arrest is made of an occupant of the car.

"I had to request a search warrant but it was not safe to wait on the side of the road for 2 hours while the warrant was issued. Therefore I had to tow the vehicle off the roadway for officer safety. In the process of towing the car I had to do an inventory of the car. The search warrant was denied but I found X evidence in the process of inventorying the vehicle prior to towing."

DDT
04-22-2009, 3:03 PM
Not true. The RO of the impounded vehicle can still get property out of the vehicle while it is still impounded, granted that it is not being held for evidence. This case decision is not going to change much, but certainly has made a mess.

I think you missed my point. Inventorying the contents only protects the impound people from theft lawsuits. If a street cop was going to steal something it would never make the inventory list. Therefore a search before impound is no more protection against the cops getting accused of stealing than evidence tape is.

CA_Libertarian
04-22-2009, 3:03 PM
Again, I think the code on towing/impounding is moot, unless there's some SCOTUS ruling that says an impound inventory is exempt from the 4th. This ruling certainly makes it sound like a warrant or PC is needed to perform most searches incident to arrest.

M. D. Van Norman
04-22-2009, 3:29 PM
This was a very good decision. It may have interesting repercussions in the future.

sac550
04-22-2009, 3:56 PM
I think that you would lose on appeal. There is no reason to impound the car if it is on their property. It is now established that searches incidental to arrest require a search warrant. Therefore the VC is only a legislative work around to perform an illegal search. If 14602.6 permitted a search of a vehicle incidental to arrest then the legislature could easily pass a law permitting impounding a vehicle any time an arrest is made of an occupant of the car.

"I had to request a search warrant but it was not safe to wait on the side of the road for 2 hours while the warrant was issued. Therefore I had to tow the vehicle off the roadway for officer safety. In the process of towing the car I had to do an inventory of the car. The search warrant was denied but I found X evidence in the process of inventorying the vehicle prior to towing."

You may be right on the 14602.6, but we have not seen the courts say that and in my opinion they aren't likely to. The car is impounded for 30 days as punishment for driving while suspended. It has nothing to do with being arrested, the person doesn't even have to be arrested for an officer to tow a car per 14602.6.

Officer don't have to write a search warrant into cars based on the GRANT case. The court was clear the motor vehicle exception given to officer was still valid. So, if an officer has enough PC to write a SW they can search it based on the motor vehicle exception, known as the Carroll doctrine. They don't have to search it at the time either. An officer can evidence impound a vehicle based on PC their is evidence in the car or related to a crime and search it days later at the impound yard. An evidence impound should not be confused with a normal impound per 22651(h) or 14602.6.

sac550
04-22-2009, 4:02 PM
Again, I think the code on towing/impounding is moot, unless there's some SCOTUS ruling that says an impound inventory is exempt from the 4th. This ruling certainly makes it sound like a warrant or PC is needed to perform most searches incident to arrest.

Again, this case has nothing to do with impounding vehicle. An impound has nothing to do with a search incident to arrest. This case is based on a search incident to arrest ONLY. The majority opinion was clear no SW would be needed if there is reasonable suspicion to believe the vehicle contains evidence (Carroll Doctrine)

Dr. Peter Venkman
04-22-2009, 4:56 PM
I think you missed my point. Inventorying the contents only protects the impound people from theft lawsuits. If a street cop was going to steal something it would never make the inventory list. Therefore a search before impound is no more protection against the cops getting accused of stealing than evidence tape is.

I think we are walking two different paths here. An inventory of the vehicle might reveal evidence.

DDT
04-22-2009, 7:13 PM
I think we are walking two different paths here. An inventory of the vehicle might reveal evidence.

Exactly. Therefore the "inventory" is actually just a fishing trip rather than actually protecting the police officer and should be disallowed.

Dr. Peter Venkman
04-22-2009, 7:19 PM
Exactly. Therefore the "inventory" is actually just a fishing trip rather than actually protecting the police officer and should be disallowed.

Not going to happen given liability reasons. Inventory is pretty much mandatory.

DDT
04-22-2009, 7:25 PM
Not going to happen given liability reasons. Inventory is pretty much mandatory.

Do the cops enter your house and inventory the whole thing when someone is arrested? How can there be any liability for theft if the cops don't enter the car?

tyrist
04-22-2009, 8:32 PM
All this case has done is to show officers they need to write their reports differently. "I conducted an inventory search of the vehicle and it revealed such and such"....instead of "I conducted a search incident to arrest. For the state of California see 22651(h)(1) VC and realize this has changed nothing.

Dr. Peter Venkman
04-23-2009, 5:31 AM
Do the cops enter your house and inventory the whole thing when someone is arrested? How can there be any liability for theft if the cops don't enter the car?

Houses are not impounded to a tow company with employees showing "interest" to its contents.

CA_Libertarian
04-23-2009, 8:27 AM
All this case has done is to show officers they need to write their reports differently. "I conducted an inventory search of the vehicle and it revealed such and such"....instead of "I conducted a search incident to arrest. For the state of California see 22651(h)(1) VC and realize this has changed nothing.

I'd love to see some case law that says an inventory search is one of the narrow exemptions to the 4th Amendment that the Supreme Court mentions in the Gant case.

Bottom line: no warrant/exception, no right to be in that place. No right to be there = fruit of the poisonous tree.

CA_Libertarian
04-23-2009, 8:30 AM
Again, this case has nothing to do with impounding vehicle. An impound has nothing to do with a search incident to arrest. This case is based on a search incident to arrest ONLY. The majority opinion was clear no SW would be needed if there is reasonable suspicion to believe the vehicle contains evidence (Carroll Doctrine)

I read the case and am fully aware what it is about. I was responding to someone's post about impounding. And yes, reasonable suspicion that there is evidence in the vehicle is one of those exceptions to the 4th Amendment.

Untamed1972
04-23-2009, 8:42 AM
I just had a thought while reading this. It was in regards to an officer asking inspecting firearms you have in the truck of your car, like if you were coming back from the range. Wouldn't this ruling make the "e" check of firearms in the trunk of a car illegal if he had no other suspicion that a crime was involved or was not making an arrest? I know the "e" check law says if you refuse to allow the check you are subjec to arrest, but doesn't the "e" check law under this ruling become void at least when your weapons are in the car because the "e" check requires you submit to a search of your vehicle for not other reason then engaging in a completely legal activity?

DDT
04-23-2009, 10:29 AM
Houses are not impounded to a tow company with employees showing "interest" to its contents.

So, if there is more than one employee at the tow yard then the inventory does NOTHING to protect the vehicle owner. If a tow yard worker removes stuff from the vehicle it's still gone and there is no way to know who took it any more than there is a way to tell who took it if there was no inventory.

Sealing the vehicle with evidence tape would do the same thing except that they'd have to block the wheels at the impound yard because they couldn't re-enter the vehicle to put it in park. This is not an unreasonable limitation to protect the 4th amendment rights of the accused.

I agree with CA_Libertarian, this is just a search incident to arrest disguised as an "inventory." I don't believe that it can withstand judicial scrutiny.

Obviously you disagree.

F-2_Challenger
04-23-2009, 10:32 AM
The Supreme Court has ruled that police need a warrant to search the vehicle of someone they have arrested if the person is locked up in a patrol cruiser and poses no safety threat to officers.

The court's 5-4 decision Tuesday effectively limits the authority of police to search a vehicle immediately after the arrest of a suspect.

Now the perp just gets to sit on the curb instead of the car so the officers can still conduct the search?

CA_Libertarian
04-23-2009, 10:51 AM
I just had a thought while reading this. It was in regards to an officer asking inspecting firearms you have in the truck of your car, like if you were coming back from the range. Wouldn't this ruling make the "e" check of firearms in the trunk of a car illegal if he had no other suspicion that a crime was involved or was not making an arrest? I know the "e" check law says if you refuse to allow the check you are subjec to arrest, but doesn't the "e" check law under this ruling become void at least when your weapons are in the car because the "e" check requires you submit to a search of your vehicle for not other reason then engaging in a completely legal activity?

12031(e) checks were already a 4A violation even before Gant.

Under the Terry Doctrine, which asserts that an officer must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed in order to be exempt from the 4A warrant requirement for a search/seizure. The legislature appears to think it could bypass this ruling by simply writing into the statute that the presence of a firearm is RS for a stop.

12031(e) is akin to saying that being African-American is RS to Terry Stop for investigation of armed robbery. It's illegal and wrong. 12031(e) just hasn't been challenged yet. With Heller, we may just get the entire statute thrown out on 2A grounds. The 4A challenge would only stop the unconstitutional stops/searches.

Untamed1972
04-23-2009, 10:53 AM
Well yeah....WE all know it's illegal....I was just wondering if this court ruling would give a challenge of it more weight?

So why hasn't there been a class-action suit filed by every UOC'er who's been stopped for an e-check to challenge that law?

CA_Libertarian
04-23-2009, 10:59 AM
Now the perp just gets to sit on the curb instead of the car so the officers can still conduct the search?

Doubtful. The wording of the decision makes it very clear that warrantless searches incident to arrest will be rare cases. The obvious intent of the case law was to allow the officer to control weapons/evidence in cases where the scene could not be secured.

To take your example a step further... If the officer were to choose to place the handcuffed "perp" back in the driver's seat, I doubt the court would buy that as meeting the criteria for an exception to the 4A.

The wording of the decision leads me to believe that the officer will have the burden of proving that he couldn't reasonably secure the scene.

CA_Libertarian
04-23-2009, 11:11 AM
Well yeah....WE all know it's illegal....I was just wondering if this court ruling would give a challenge of it more weight?

So why hasn't there been a class-action suit filed by every UOC'er who's been stopped for an e-check to challenge that law?

This ruling doesn't really add much as far as "e" checks go. Terry has it covered already. This case is really about evidence officers find when they've got no reason to be looking for evidence.

As for legal action... I don't want to derail the thread, and also I don't want to divulge some legal action that may be hitting certain departments/cities soon.

Untamed1972
04-23-2009, 11:16 AM
As for legal action... I don't want to derail the thread, and also I don't want to divulge some legal action that may be hitting certain departments/cities soon.

Gotcha! wink, wink :thumbsup:

jamesob
04-24-2009, 10:09 PM
I have wondered what actually gives the police the authority to "inventory" the cars for impound. I remember clearly that every time I have had a vehicle impounded they declare they are not responsible for any theft or damage, so why do an inventory?because it narrows who stole property if something comes up missing and avoids a hassle with the owner. i towed a car one time and they accused me of scraping their tag off. i showed them the report that said that the tag was current and a digital photo of the plate, since we took photos of the plates when towed.

DDT
04-24-2009, 10:16 PM
because it narrows who stole property if something comes up missing and avoids a hassle with the owner. i towed a car one time and they accused me of scraping their tag off. i showed them the report that said that the tag was current and a digital photo of the plate, since we took photos of the plates when towed.

Well hell, shooting them in the head would avoid the hassle of a trial. Hopefully you can see through the hyperbole of that statement and understand that Civil Rights are worth "hassle."