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Name: People v. Banks (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 376
Case #: B312618
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/20/2023

Suppression motion properly denied where evidence found during search of defendant’s car would inevitably have been discovered during a lawful inventory search. At 1:40 a.m., police pulled defendant over because his car did not have proper license plates and he was not wearing a seatbelt. There was no registration sticker on the front window of the car, and defendant did not have a license or provide proof of ownership of the vehicle. The front seat passenger (Doe) appeared under 18, twice gave a false name and birthdate, and wore revealing clothes under her coat, leading the officer to believe she might…

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Name: People v. Lee
Case #: D073740
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/03/2019

In granting defendant's motion to suppress, trial court properly concluded that defendant's post-Proposition 64 possession of a small amount of marijuana was of little relevance in assessing probable cause. Police pulled defendant Lee over based on Vehicle Code violations. During a pat-down search for identification, Officer Robles found a bag containing a small amount of marijuana and a wad of cash in Lee's pocket. Robles searched the car and found cocaine, a gun, and other items related to selling narcotics. Charged with drug and weapons offenses, defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence. The trial court granted…

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Name: United States v. Peterson
Case #: 17-30084
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/04/2018

Firearm in defendant's backpack inevitably would have been discovered in an inventory search when he was booked into jail because the arresting officer would have booked him on charges unrelated to the firearm. Peterson was arrested on outstanding misdemeanor warrants. During his arrest, he twice broke away and tried to escape. After he was detained, his backpack was removed, handcuffs were placed on him, and he was put into the back of a patrol car. Thereafter, his backpack was searched and a gun was found. The district court denied Peterson's motion to suppress, finding the gun inevitably would…

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Name: U.S. v. Johnson
Case #: 15-30222
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/14/2018

District court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress where police officers' subjective purpose in conducting warrantless administrative search was to find evidence of a crime. Portland police arrested Johnson on an outstanding warrant and conducted an inventory search of his car prior to having it towed. Contraband was located in the car. Johnson was convicted of drug trafficking and appealed. Held: Reversed. As an exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement, police may impound and search a car in conformance with standardized procedures of the police department and for community caretaking purposes. The purpose of the search must be…

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Name: People v. Zabala
Case #: H043328
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/11/2018

Police search behind console dashboard of car exceeded the scope of a permissible inventory search. Zabala was stopped by police for a traffic violation and found to be driving on a suspended license. His car was impounded and subjected to an inventory search. Methamphetamine was found in a hidden compartment behind a loose dashboard console. Zabala was charged with drug offenses and four prior drug conviction enhancements (Health & Saf. Code, § 11370.2, subd. (c)). Zabala's motion to suppress the drug evidence was denied and he pleaded no contest to the charges. He appealed. Held: Affirmed. Automobiles that are impounded…

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Name: People v. Wallace
Case #: A149049
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/07/2017

Search of defendant's vehicle was not a valid inventory search because there was not substantial evidence that that police conducted the search pursuant to standardized department procedures. An officer detained Wallace for having "false tabs." A second officer, Ambrose, heard Wallace's name broadcast and knew he was wanted for a domestic violence incident that occurred a few nights before. Officer Ambrose went to the traffic stop, placed Wallace in handcuffs, and seated him in the back of the patrol car. He then went back to search Wallace's car, which he justified on the grounds of an inventory search and…

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Name: People v. Quick
Case #: B268751
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/22/2016

"A person arrested for driving under the influence may not defeat a 'search incident to arrest' by locking incriminating evidence inside his vehicle." Police received information that Quick was involved in drug activity and had firearms so they conducted a traffic stop based on Vehicle Code violations. Because Quick looked like he was under the influence, police had him step out of his car for a field sobriety test. Quick exited, took off his jacket (drugs were in the pocket), threw it into his car, then locked the car with the keys inside. He was arrested for driving under the…

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Name: United States v. Cervantes
Case #: 09-50521
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/16/2012
Subsequent History: Opn. amended 11/28/2012

The community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement does not apply where police impounded and searched appellant's vehicle as a pretext to locate drugs. After police conducted surveillance of appellant and others relative to drug activity, appellant's car was stopped. When appellant could not produce a driver's license he was seized and an inventory search of the vehicle was conducted, during which cocaine was found. The DMV later confirmed appellant did have a valid license. The district court denied appellant's motion to suppress, finding his vehicle had been lawfully impounded and the search conducted under the community caretaking…

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Name: People v. Cervantes
Case #: 09-50521
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/16/2012

In a Fourth Amendment analysis, mere conclusions of the police officer do not establish probable cause justifying an exception to the Fourth Amendment and an officer's investigatory motive for vehicle impoundment is relevant to the validity of the community caretaking exception. While conducting surveillance on a suspected stash house, officer Henkel observed appellant enter and then leave, holding a large white box. He placed the box in his truck and drove away. Henkel monitored him over the next few hours and eventually asked a police unit to develop a lawful reason to conduct a traffic stop. The police officers stopped…

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