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Name: United States v. Caseres
Case #: 06-50546
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/21/2008
Summary

The warrantless search of the vehicle was not incident to arrest. Officer Murphy saw Caseres turning without signaling, and he believed this to be a violation of Vehicle Code section 22108. Murphy also noticed another violation involving tinted windows. Murphy followed Caseres’s car and requested a warrant check. Caseres parked in front of a house near his home and got out of the car. Murphy parked behind Caseres and approached him, ordering him to stop. Caseres refused, said “Fuck you, I’m home,” threatened Murphy, and then ran. When Caseres finally stopped, he was arrested for several violations of the Penal Code, but no Vehicle Code violations. After Caseres was taken into custody, Murphy searched the passenger compartment of his car, and found a gun and ammunition. The district court denied Caseres’s motion to suppress the evidence, finding that the search was incident to a valid arrest, or an inventory search. On appeal, Caseres argued that the gun and ammunition had to be suppressed as the result of an unlawful detention. The appellate court held that Caseres was not “detained” until after he threatened Murphy, so the detention was lawful. However, the search of the car was unlawful. The search was not incident to arrest because the search was not characterized by spatial or temporal proximity to the time and place of the arrest. The search was not a valid inventory search because Murphy lacked the authority to impound the vehicle, which was lawfully parked on the street near Caseres’s home, and searching did not serve any community caretaking purpose. The search was not justified as a parole search because there was no evidence that Murphy knew that Caseres was a parolee. Therefore, the motion to suppress should have been granted, and reversal was required.