Texas V. Gant : Report Of Narcotics Activity At A House

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Title: Arizona v. Gant Citation: 556, U.S. 332 (2009) Year decided: Argued October 7, 2008 – Decided April 21, 2009 Facts: On August 25, 1999, two uniform officers from the Tucson (AZ) Police Department responded to a report of narcotics activity at a house in Tucson, Arizona. Rodney Joseph Gant was contacted when he answered the door of the residence and told the officers the owner was not home but would return later. The officers left the location, apparently planning to return later to contact the owner of the residence. Later that day, the police ran a record’s check and found that Gant had an outstanding warrant for driving with a suspended license. The police officers returned to the house later in the day; while they were there, …show more content…

Issue: May a law enforcement officer conduct an automobile search as an incident to all lawful arrests, or must the officer reasonably fear for his own safety or for the integrity of the evidence before searching the automobile? Does the Fourth Amendment require law enforcement officers to demonstrate a threat to their safety or a need to preserve evidence related to the crime of arrest in order to justify a warrantless vehicular search incident to arrest conducted after the vehicle’s recent occupants have been arrested and secured? Decision: “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. 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. The Arizona Supreme Court correctly held that this case involved an unreasonable search. Accordingly, the judgment of the State Supreme Court is affirmed” (Stevens 2009). Holding: Belton does not authorize a vehicle search incident to a recent occupant’s arrest after the arrestee has been secured and cannot access the interior of the vehicle. Circumstances unique to the automobile context justify a search incident to arrest when it is reasonable to believe that evidence of the offense of

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