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Name: Miranda v. City of Cornelius
Case #: 04-35940
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 11/17/2005

The community caretaking doctrine does not justify the impounding of a car from the owner’s driveway where such a seizure was not necessary to protect the public safety. A married couple sued a city government, alleging violations of their Fourth Amendment rights after their car was seized from their driveway pursuant to a city ordinance. The husband had been teaching his wife to drive when a city police officer cited them for permitting operation of a vehicle by an unlicensed driver. The vehicle was impounded. The Ninth Circuit agreed that the impounding of the car was a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and held that the seizure was not justified under the community caretaking doctrine. Police have no duty to protect a car parked on the owner’s property, and there was no reason to believe that impoundment would prevent any threat to the public safety.