Exiting and locking your car doesn’t automatically prevent search incident to arrest

State v. Adams, Court of Appeals Division I, filed September 2, 2008.

Police observed a man sitting in his parked car outside a casino. The registered owner of the vehicle had an outstanding arrest warrant for a revoked driver’s license. The driver matched the registered owner’s description, so the police officer turned around to contact the driver. The driver drove away and the police officer followed. The driver turned into a Taco Bell driveway and parked. The police officer turned on its emergency lights and pulled in behind the car.

The driver, Mr. Adams, stepped out of his vehicle, stood in the open car door, and yelled at the officer that the stop was racial profiling. The police officer instructed Mr. Adams to get back in his car, but Mr. Adams kept yelling. The officer called for back-up. Mr. Adams slammed the car door, locked it, and stepped four to five feet away into the adjacent parking lot, where he continued to yell at the police officer and raise his arms in an agitated manner.

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Urinalysis is warrantess search; Mandatory urine testing as condition of pretrial release is inappropriate as there is no evidence that it increases likelihood of appearance for court

State v. Rose, Court of Appeals Division II, filed August 26, 2008.

Ms. Rose was arraigned on drug charges relating to a marijuana grow operation. Ms. Rose’s only criminal history was a conviction for driving with a suspended license from 1989. She had no history of failing to appear for court and she had a stable address and employment. The Court released Ms. Rose on her own personal recognizance, but imposed “standard drug conditions” such as weekly UA’s, no possession or use of non-prescribed drugs, no consumption of alcohol, and no entering locations where alcohol is the principal item for sale.

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Is our exclusionary rule in jeopardy?

In a series titled “American Exception” The New York Times examines the American exclusionary rule in “Should Suspects Go Free When Police Blunder?” The exclusionary rule was originally outlined by the United States Supreme Court in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961) and mandates suppression of evidence in certain instances when police violate a suspect’s constitutional rights.

The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to consider the case of Bennie Dean Herring of Birmingham, Alabama on October 7, 2008. The Court will consider whether drugs and a gun should have been suppressed where police mistakenly searched Mr. Herring after believing he had an outstanding arrest warrant due to poor record-keeping at another police department.

Smell of marijuana in general area is insufficient for probable cause to arrest

State v. Grande, Washington Supreme Court, filed July 17, 2008.

Mr. Grande was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for having very dark tinted windows. When the officer pulled the vehicle over, he detected the moderate smell of marijuana coming from the car. He arrested both the driver and Mr. Grande, the passenger. He handcuffed and searched them. He found a marijuana pipe that contained a small amount of marijuana on Mr. Grande. In the car, the officer found a burnt marijuana cigarette in the ashtray. The driver claimed the cigarette as her own. Both the driver and Mr. Grande were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. Mr. Grande was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Vehicle crossing over a lane once by two tire widths not a traffic violation justifying seizure by law enforcement

State v. Tonelli-Prado, Washington Court of Appeals, Division I, filed July 7, 2008.

Mr. Tonelli Prado was stopped as he was exiting I-5 at James Street in Seattle, WA. The police officer had observed Mr. Tonelli Prado’s car cross an 8 inch white line dividing the exit lane from the adjacent lane by approximately 2 tire widths for 1 second. Mr. Tonelli Prado was investigated and arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Mr. Tonelli Prado’s motion to suppress for an unlawful seizure was denied, he was convicted, and he appealed.

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