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Name: People v. Nasmeh
Case #: H029987
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/23/2007
Summary

Motion to suppress was improvidently granted where seizure of the vehicle did not exceed the scope of the search warrant. Appellant was charged with murder. Prior to trial, a magistrate signed a search warrant for appellant’s home and car for evidence of the murder. Following a visual search of the vehicle, officer’s towed the car to the lab for forensic processing. There, forensic evidence linking appellant to the murder was found. Appellant’s motion to suppress the evidence was granted, and the prosecutor petitioned for a writ of mandate to vacate the order. The appellate court issued the writ, finding the motion was improvidently granted. The warrant was not overbroad. It sought ten specific items related to the victim’s disappearance and appellant’s possible involvement. Seizure of the vehicle did not exceed the scope of the warrant. A valid warrant to search a vehicle authorizes seizure for the time reasonably needed to undertake the search, including taking it to a crime lab. The time it took to complete the execution of the warrant was not excessive. Further, the police did not need a warrant to search the vehicle because probable cause existed to search the vehicle under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement.