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  1. #1
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    Mar 2005
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    Default Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Surprisingly, the Supreme Court has significantly narrowed New York v Belton - and after thirty years I think it's fair to call it a suprise - holding that the rule of Belton applies to allow a search of a suspect's vehicle only "if it is reasonable to believe that evidence of the offense of arrest might be found in the vehicle" or if the suspect might be able to access the car for weapons.

    I am not sure what impact this has in practical terms. I suspect a lot of police departments will be refining their rules for when cars should be impounded "incident to arrest" so that they can perform inventory searches. It makes the most difference in cases where there's nothing to tie a suspect back to the vehicle, beyond ownership or past occupation of the vehicle, and there's no evidence of criminal activity (e.g., drug crime) that may somehow relate to the contents of the vehicle.

  2. #2
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    May 2006
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    between here and there, but you can't here from there
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    547

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Having read this review, I really don't see any difference it will make as the guidelines are vague.

    A cop simply has to say " I smelled smoke of pot" and reasonable cause is suddenly delivered. Or maybe " the operator was acting erractically". Define erractic.

    As I said, no change. In past stops, I have been asked to consent to a search and I have refused. But, one cop told me all he has to do is say he smells something burning that does not smell like a cigarette and he has the right to search so I should just permit it or do it the hard way. I called his bluff and my truck was searched. Nothing there, nothing found. I found out the hard way that even though you've done nothing wrong, you will still lose.

    The SC ruling means nothing.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Quote Quoting aaron
    View Post
    I suspect a lot of police departments will be refining their rules for when cars should be impounded "incident to arrest" so that they can perform inventory searches.

    I agree. I think at the end of the day the result will be a near erradication of notices to appear, and a spike upward in the number of physical arrests made, even for more minor (yet arrestable) offenses - inventory searches are SO much less problematic, and just as fruitful; and the added benefit that the officer can search more leisurely with the arrestee cuffed and stuffed and not having to watch a suspect with one eye and search a vehicle at the same time. The number of arrests for DWLS alone will be interesting to watch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,835

    Default Arizona V. Gant

    Was decided yesterday. It started back in 1999, it went to the US SC and was remanded in light of the Dean case, it forged it's way back.

    Syllabus:

    Held: Police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if it is reasonable to believe that the arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. Pp. 5–18.


    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-542.ZS.html


    Any cases pending in courts with such suppression arguments as in Gant, this decision is retroactive to them.


    AZ SC ruling:


    http://www.supreme.state.az.us/opin/...CR060385PR.pdf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,835

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Quote Quoting aaron
    View Post
    I am not sure what impact this has in practical terms. I suspect a lot of police departments will be refining their rules for when cars should be impounded "incident to arrest" so that they can perform inventory searches. It makes the most difference in cases where there's nothing to tie a suspect back to the vehicle, beyond ownership or past occupation of the vehicle, and there's no evidence of criminal activity (e.g., drug crime) that may somehow relate to the contents of the vehicle.


    I started a thread on this too, did not see yours.

    The opinion, in my opinion, is not a new revelation that was not hidden between the lines since Chimel. Sooner or later it would come down. As I posted this was a decision that started in 1999, was remanded, and made it's way back to the court, so effectively, it was 10 years in the making.

    I would have ruled in the majority.

    My state even had restrictions on similar police conduct long before 1999 Gant.

    .. A police officer may not open a small, closed container found inside an automobile glove compartment soley as a search incident to the driver's arrest for a traffic violation, after the officer has the suspect-and sole occupant of the vehicle-under control in the police crusier. (New York v. Belton distinguished).

    State v. Brown (1992) 63 Ohio St. 3rd, 349.

    Quote Quoting zedex
    View Post
    Having read this review, I really don't see any difference it will make as the guidelines are vague.

    A cop simply has to say " I smelled smoke of pot" and reasonable cause is suddenly delivered. Or maybe " the operator was acting erractically". Define erractic.

    As I said, no change. In past stops, I have been asked to consent to a search and I have refused. But, one cop told me all he has to do is say he smells something burning that does not smell like a cigarette and he has the right to search so I should just permit it or do it the hard way. I called his bluff and my truck was searched. Nothing there, nothing found. I found out the hard way that even though you've done nothing wrong, you will still lose.

    The SC ruling means nothing.


    The decision is very clear, IMO. If an officer decides to fabricate a reason for a search, it matters not what the law is. These officers, as we saw in the St. George, MO case a few years back, eventually go down.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    In CA our ability to conduct an impound of a vehicle has been restricted in recent years by two cases. These cases (Miranda (9th Cir. 2005) 429 F.3d 858; Williams (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 756 have applied a community caretaking requirement to an impound. The Williams decision listed the following considerations: Would the car be stolen, broken into, or vandalized where it was parked? Was it blocking a driveway or crosswalk? Did it pose a hazard or impediment to other traffic? Would leaving it there result in its immediate and continued unlawful operation by an unlicensed driver?

    In short, the inventory impound requires some pretty good articulation and is not the panacea for CA law enforcement that it originally had been.

    - Carl

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Metro Atlanta
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
    View Post
    I agree. I think at the end of the day the result will be a near erradication of notices to appear, and a spike upward in the number of physical arrests made, even for more minor (yet arrestable) offenses - inventory searches are SO much less problematic, and just as fruitful; and the added benefit that the officer can search more leisurely with the arrestee cuffed and stuffed and not having to watch a suspect with one eye and search a vehicle at the same time. The number of arrests for DWLS alone will be interesting to watch.
    I think the opposite is true. There will be less of an incentive to do a pre-textual arrest to do a search incident to arrest of the vehicle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Schaumburg, Illinois, Cook County
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    I told a police officer "There may be an exacto knife in the glovebox that has not yet been assembled - the cardboard is still inside of it". They then searched the entire car, destroying everything in the process. I assume this is still illegal? Please let me know in your answer whether you're a lawyer, researcher, successful fighter, random person, etc.

    IMO even if I said the knife was open they would still have only been allowed in the glovebox.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Washington comma the Great State of.
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Quote Quoting mewgirl
    View Post
    I told a police officer "There may be an exacto knife in the glovebox that has not yet been assembled - the cardboard is still inside of it". They then searched the entire car, destroying everything in the process. I assume this is still illegal? Please let me know in your answer whether you're a lawyer, researcher, successful fighter, random person, etc.

    IMO even if I said the knife was open they would still have only been allowed in the glovebox.
    Somewhere out there a village is . . .

  10. #10

    Default Re: Arizona v Gant - Searches of Motor Vehicles

    Or a county full of villages....

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