Tough Times Call For Tough Representation

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SEARCH AND SEIZURE UPDATE ARIZONA V. GANT ( http://supct. law. cornell. edu /supct /html /07-542.ZS.html )

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2009 | Criminal Defense |

I was asked in 2004 by a judge to participate in his trial advocacy course at a local law school. I suggested that he use the Thornton v. United States ( ) case as his teaching example because Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion was going to become the new standard when the issue was next presented to the Supreme Court. In April, the Supreme Court did exactly that in the Gant case. Quite simply, if you are arrested to driving while suspended, cuffed, and placed in the rear of a police car, there is no reason to search you car. You no longer present a threat to the police and there is no evidence of that crime to be discovered in the car. The logic of this is quite simple, but the jails are full of people who had drugs or other contraband recovered in their cars as a result of these “Search Incident” searches. Although the logic is simple, the end result is not. Will police now “routinely” do an Inventory Search because they have decided to have the vehicle towed rather than leave it parked on the shoulder of a highway or parked on the street. There will now need to be an exhaustive cross-examination of the officer about his practices prior to Gant. A subpoena for previous police reports in these types of traffic offenses may be the most effective method of revealing what was the officer’s pre Gant practice regarding towing.Baltimore County police officer routinely tow vehicles in DUI cases.The Maryland State Police will leave the vehicle on the shoulder of the interstate if it is not impeding traffic.The Maryland State Police have jurisdiction throughout Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.They do not operate in Baltimore City.The Maryland Transportation Police also operate not only on the toll roads, but parts of the interstate.