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Name: U.S. v. Gonzalez
Case #: 07-30098
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/24/2009

While a case is on direct review, a decision of the Supreme Court construing the Fourth Amendment is retroactive to all convictions that were not yet final at the time the Supreme Court decision was rendered, regardless of the good-faith exception. During a 2006 traffic stop of a car in which Gonzalez was riding, police located a loaded firearm in the glove box and arrested him. Gonzalez filed a suppression motion but, the lower court denied it. Gonzalez appealed and relying on New York v. Belton (1981) 453 U.S. 454 , the Ninth Circuit, affirmed the denial. The U. S. Supreme Court granted certiorari. Based on Arizona v. Gant (2009) 129 S.Ct. 1710, which limited Belton, and was rendered subsequent to the appellate court judgment, it remanded the case. At the second hearing, the Ninth Circuit found Gant to be controlling and reversed the trial court. It rejected the government’s position that because the search was in good-faith under then-prevailing Belton, a valid exception to the exclusionary rule applied. Under long standing precedent, a new rule construing the Fourth Amendment declared by the Supreme Court, will apply retroactively to a case on direct review because to hold otherwise would violate the integrity of judicial review and the principle of treating similarly situated defendants the same.