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Name: United States v. Dorsey
Case #: 04-30152
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/10/2005

Appellant was stopped by police officers on a high school campus and told to leave the campus if he had no legitimate business there. He was warned that if he returned, he would be treated as a trespasser. When his car was spotted later that same day driving recklessly in the high school parking lot, officers arrested appellant and searched him. When the officers moved appellant’s car, they noticed a strong smell of marijuana, and then searched the vehicle, finding cocaine and a weapon. The appellate court held that officers had probable cause to arrest, and that the search of the car was a lawful search incident to the arrest, because reasonably prudent officers could have concluded that the defendant had previously engaged in and was again committing trespass under Alaska law. Dissenting from the portion of the opinion concluding that the arrest for trespass was supported by probable cause, Judge Rawlinson, noting that there was probable cause to arrest the defendant for reckless driving, concurred in the result only because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Devenpeck v. Alford, 125 S. Ct. 588 (2004), which reiterated that a warrantless arrest by a law officer is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment where there is probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has been or is being committed.