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  • Arizona vs Gant

    Hello my Brothers and Sisters in Law Enforcement. I just wanted to get some feedback on how the recent Supreme Court ruling, Arizona vs Gant, is affecting the way you do your vehicle searches incident to arrest. For those who are not familiar, the Court held that a search of the passenger compartment of a vehicle following an arrest is allowed “only if [1] the arrestee is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search or [2] it is reasonable to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. When these justifications are absent, a search of an arrestee's vehicle will be unreasonable unless police obtain a warrant or show that another exception to the warrant requirement applies.”

    I work for a fairly large department in NW Indiana and for some reason, we do not have a vehicle inventory policy. So long story short, we do not perform any inventory (search) of the vehicle's contents before the tow shows up on a basic impound. I know, what a mess. Would you expect anything less in the Region? So here's what I'm doing, say all I have is a misdemeanor traffic offense with no furtive movements and no other PC like burnt marijuana, plain view, or K-9 ect.. At this point, I have the driver exit the vehicle and stand outside the drivers door and grab the roof (un-handcuffed) while my partner provides cover. I then conduct a search the drivers immediate area incident to arrest. Obviously, this is a little safer than conducting the search with the driver still sitting in the drivers seat. The vehicle is still accessible to the driver so the Gant ruling will not apply.

    Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!!

  • #2
    It was explained to us today by a prosecuter that once they are out of the car the grab area is no longer around what he could have reached sitting in the seat and you cannot search the car then since you don't have the inventory to fall back on. If you did see "furtive movements" while he was sitting in the car and then you got him out then you can do a check of his grab area if you believe criminal activity was taking place. That stinks for you guys, brother. Seems like everyday, they want to take away our ability to keep the peace.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Region Law View Post

      I work for a fairly large department in NW Indiana and for some reason, we do not have a vehicle inventory policy.

      .......
      Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!!
      Fix that and get an inventory policy. That's simply dangerous to not have one, especially in the day of mobile meth labs and other tiny-but-dangerous things that can be inside a car that you're about to impound.
      I miss you, Dave.
      http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Region Law View Post
        At this point, I have the driver exit the vehicle and stand outside the drivers door and grab the roof (un-handcuffed) while my partner provides cover. I then conduct a search the drivers immediate area incident to arrest. Obviously, this is a little safer than conducting the search with the driver still sitting in the drivers seat. The vehicle is still accessible to the driver so the Gant ruling will not apply.
        You need to stop doing this as well. Justice Scalia already addressed something very similar to what you're doing and he said that there should be VERY FEW circumstances where the subject won't be in handcuffs near the vehicle. He made this comment because he knew there would be cops that would try this: well, they're not "secured" and they still have access to the vehicle. Not gonna work if you do come up with something. Change tactics, and get the inventory policy in place.
        Why are there so many babies on O.com? Creole, you and your buddy JPSO Recruit help me out on this one....

        * "Preach always, if necessary, use words!" St Francis of Assisi

        * Luke Chapter 6, Verses 27-36

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        • #5
          That sucks with no inventory of the vehicle.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Region Law View Post
            Hello my Brothers and Sisters in Law Enforcement. I just wanted to get some feedback on how the recent Supreme Court ruling, Arizona vs Gant, is affecting the way you do your vehicle searches incident to arrest. For those who are not familiar, the Court held that a search of the passenger compartment of a vehicle following an arrest is allowed “only if [1] the arrestee is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search or [2] it is reasonable to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest. When these justifications are absent, a search of an arrestee's vehicle will be unreasonable unless police obtain a warrant or show that another exception to the warrant requirement applies.”

            I work for a fairly large department in NW Indiana and for some reason, we do not have a vehicle inventory policy. So long story short, we do not perform any inventory (search) of the vehicle's contents before the tow shows up on a basic impound. I know, what a mess. Would you expect anything less in the Region? So here's what I'm doing, say all I have is a misdemeanor traffic offense with no furtive movements and no other PC like burnt marijuana, plain view, or K-9 ect.. At this point, I have the driver exit the vehicle and stand outside the drivers door and grab the roof (un-handcuffed) while my partner provides cover. I then conduct a search the drivers immediate area incident to arrest. Obviously, this is a little safer than conducting the search with the driver still sitting in the drivers seat. The vehicle is still accessible to the driver so the Gant ruling will not apply.

            Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!!
            you say search incident to arrest, but no arrest has been made in your scenario. you have pc if its a mis. offense to make the arrest but to hold the driver at the vehicle to condcut a search of the immediate area wont fly.
            Im pretty much amazing. Just ask anyone about me, im kinda a big deal. I have many leather bound books and my house smells rich of mahogany.

            Comment


            • #7
              Good discussion Guys! I truly believe we will have a vehicle inventory policy in the near future. I'm a transfer Cop, so I was shocked when I was told not to perform a inventory of a vehicle prior to being impounded. I spoke with one of our prosecutors and he said as long as the driver was still in the "area" of search, I was good. Is it safe? Absolutely not and that is why the vehicle inventory is essential. The way I look at, the court is making the vehicle more like the home. When you arrest someone on the couch, you search that area of the couch.

              Scalia summarizes it like this- Police may search a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if the arrestee is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search or it is reasonable to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest.
              Last edited by Region Law; 06-12-2009, 10:07 AM. Reason: .

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Region Law View Post
                Good discussion Guys! I truly believe we will have a vehicle inventory policy in the near future. I'm a transfer Cop, so I was shocked when I was told not to perform a inventory of a vehicle prior to being impounded. I spoke with one of our prosecutors and he said as long as the driver was still in the "area" of search, I was good. Is it safe? Absolutely not and that is why the vehicle inventory is essential. The way I look at, the court is making the vehicle more like the home. When you arrest someone on the couch, you search that area of the couch.

                Scalia summarizes it like this- Police may search a vehicle incident to a recent occupant’s arrest only if the arrestee is within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search or it is reasonable to believe the vehicle contains evidence of the offense of arrest.
                Keep reading what he said. He also said that there is NO REASON to keep that person within reach of that vehicle unsecured so you can go on a hunting trip inside that vehicle. Your PA is wrong.
                Why are there so many babies on O.com? Creole, you and your buddy JPSO Recruit help me out on this one....

                * "Preach always, if necessary, use words!" St Francis of Assisi

                * Luke Chapter 6, Verses 27-36

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, a HUNTING TRIP would be real hard to do in a Dodge Neon. Lol! I see a "hunting trip" as searching beyond the reach of the arrestee. We can still search a passenger compartment incident to a recent occupant's arrest only when the arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search.
                  Last edited by Region Law; 06-13-2009, 06:14 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Region Law View Post
                    Well, a HUNTING TRIP would be real hard to do in a Dodge Neon. Lol! I see a "hunting trip" as searching beyond the reach of the arrestee. We can still search a passenger compartment incident to a recent occupant's arrest only when the arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search.
                    I know this. And Justice Scalia has said that there is pretty much no reason a recent occupant UNDER ARREST should be unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger compartment. If he's under arrest, then he should be in cuffs.
                    Why are there so many babies on O.com? Creole, you and your buddy JPSO Recruit help me out on this one....

                    * "Preach always, if necessary, use words!" St Francis of Assisi

                    * Luke Chapter 6, Verses 27-36

                    Comment

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