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Name: People v. Cantor
Case #: G036838
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/13/2007
Summary

Consent for a “quick search” of the vehicle did not extend to opening a record cleaning machine inside the trunk. Appellant was stopped for driving violations. Based on his nervousness, his initial failure to yield, furtive movements, and the smell of marijuana, the police officer asked for and received consent to quickly search the car. In the trunk, the officer found 201 grams of cocaine inside a vinyl record cleaner. Before trial, appellant moved to suppress the evidence found in his trunk, and the motion was denied. In this appeal, he contended that the trial court erred in denying his motion because the search of the vinyl record cleaner in the trunk exceeded the scope of consent. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Appellant agreed to the officer’s request for a “quick search” of the car. The officer searched for 15 minutes prior finding nothing incriminating. At that point, the search should have stopped. A reasonable person would not have understood the consent to a “real quick” search to extend beyond that point, much less as authorization to unscrew the panel of a piece of equipment during a second search of the trunk. Appellant manifested an expectation of privacy by placing the drugs inside the record cleaning machine and screwing it shut. By unscrewing the back panel, the officer violated appellant’s privacy expectation.