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Name: People v. Osborne
Case #: A121195
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 07/14/2009

The offense for which a subject is arrested, or is arrestable, may provide a basis for searching the passenger compartment of the subject’s vehicle and any containers located in the passenger compartment, such that there is no violation of the subject’s Fourth Amendment rights. Police officers observed appellant standing next to the trunk of a parked Lexus. Appellant appeared to be handling exposed wires in the trunk but when he saw the officers, he closed the trunk and walked away. A second man in a driveway nearby ran away. Appellant complied with an order to step…

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Name: Arizona v. Gant
Case #: 07-542
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 04/21/2009
Subsequent History: 129 S.Ct. 1710; 173 L.Ed.2d 485

Following the recent arrest of the occupant of a vehicle, police do not have carte blanche to search the car. The constitutionality of a search will depend on whether it is reasonable to believe the arrestee might access the vehicle at the time of the search or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. In this case, the Court, distinguishing the facts from those of New York v. Belton (1981) 453 U.S. 454, rejected a broad reading of Belton, thereby recognizing the motorist's privacy interest in his vehicle. Police officers, investigating an anonymous tip that…

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Name: Ramirez v. City of Buena Park
Case #: 04-56832
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/25/2009

Impoundment of a vehicle may be warranted under the community caretaking doctrine with consideration given to the location of the vehicle and the officer's duty to prevent it from creating a hazard to other vehicles or being targeted for vandalism and theft. Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment against him as to his claim for damages following his arrest and impoundment of his vehicle. While on patrol sometime around 8 p.m., Buena Park Police Officer Montez saw plaintiff, reclining in his vehicle with his eyes closed. The car was parked in front of a pharmacy. Based on…

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Name: Arizona v. Johnson
Case #: 07-1122
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/26/2009
Subsequent History: 129 S.Ct. 781, 172 L.Ed.2d 694

Officers who conduct routine traffic stops may conduct a patdown of a passenger for weapons without violating the Fourth Amendment, if they reasonably suspect the person frisked is armed and dangerous. Three officers stopped an automobile after a license plate check revealed that the vehicle’s registration had been suspended for an insurance-related violation. Upon request of one of the officers, the driver exited the vehicle. Another officer spoke to appellant, the back seat passenger, and then asked him to step out of the vehicle to further question him about information he provided. When appellant exited, the officer, suspecting he might…

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Name: People v. Hernandez
Case #: S150038
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/11/2008

Where an officer’s sole reason for stopping a vehicle is based on viewing a temporary operating permit on the vehicle, the stop is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment, regardless of the officer’s hunch that such permits are often forged, issued to different vehicles, or suggest that the vehicle may be stolen. Here, the officer observed a vehicle with no license plates but with a temporary permit in the rear window, and stopped and detained appellant. When appellant refused to get out of the car, the officer sprayed him with pepper spray, and he and his partner pulled appellant out of…

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Name: In re Raymond C.
Case #: S149728
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/11/2008

Where a police officer observes a vehicle that, from the officer’s viewpoint, has no license plates or a temporary permit, the officer is justified in stopping the vehicle to further investigate if the driver is licensed and the vehicle registered. In this companion case to People v. Hernandez (S150038), the Supreme Court concluded that although appellant had a valid permit displayed in the front window of his vehicle, the officer, who driving behind the vehicle, was unable to see it and, thus, was justified in stopping the vehicle for what appeared to be a license violation. The officer was permitted…

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Name: People v. Collier
Case #: B207163
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 09/18/2008

The odor of marijuana from a vehicle stopped for a Vehicle Code violation provides probable cause for a limited pat-down search of the passenger. Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers stopped a vehicle, in which appellant was a passenger, because the vehicle had no front license plate. As they approached the vehicle they smelled marijuana and one of the officers asked appellant to step out of the vehicle. Appellant was taller than the officer and was wearing baggy clothing which led the officer to believe he might be in possession of a weapon. The officer patted him down for weapons and…

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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

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…

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Name: People v. Logsdon
Case #: G038366
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/28/2008

A suppression motion was properly denied where police had cause to stop a driver for changing lanes without signaling. A police officer followed Logsdon because he exited from a gas station, crossed six lanes of a seven-lane street, and proceeded forward in the middle lane. When Logsdon then moved to the far right lane without signaling, the officer stopped him for a violation of Vehicle Code section 22107, which prohibits changing lanes without signaling. Logsdon was then arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol with three prior convictions. On appeal following his plea, Logsdon…

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Name: People v. Baker
Case #: F052913
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/15/2008

A male driver's parole search condition, alone, does not justify the search of the female passenger's purse. Appellant was the sole passenger of a vehicle stopped for speeding. Upon learning that the driver was on parole with a search condition, the officer ordered appellant and the driver out of the vehicle and searched it, as well as appellant's purse. The purse, described as being a distinctly female purse, had been located on the floor at appellant's feet. Inside an outer pocket of the purse, the officer found a small quantity of methamphetamine. The appellate court…

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