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04/05/76 PEOPLE v. WHITE

April 5, 1976

PEOPLE
v.
WHITE



Appeal from Wayne, Charles Kaufman, J.

Bronson, P. J., and McGregor and R. M. Maher, JJ. Bronson, P. J., concurred. R. M. Maher, J. (dissenting).

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Opinion of the Court

1. Searches and Seizures -- Vehicles -- Search Without Warrant -- Reasonable Time -- Probable Cause.

A search of an automobile which was conducted without a warrant 18 hours after the vehicle was impounded following an arrest was conducted within a reasonable time, and was therefore constitutionally permissible, where there was sufficient probable cause at the time of impoundment to conduct an immediate search without a warrant, the automobile was impounded in the late afternoon and only held overnight before the search was conducted, and where no officer was put in charge of the case until the following morning.

2. Searches and Seizures -- Vehicles -- Search Without Warrant -- Immediate Action -- Reasonable Time -- Supreme Court.

An immediate search without a warrant of a vehicle is constitutionally permissible, and the Supreme Court has consistently held that where immediate action is called for, only action within a reasonable time is required.

Dissent by R. M. Maher, J.

3. Searches and Seizures -- Vehicles -- Search Without Warrant -- Reasonableness -- Exceptions -- Automobiles -- Applicability.

Searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by Judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment; the recognized exception that an automobile stopped on a highway may be searched incident to an arrest does not apply where an accused is placed under arrest and taken into custody, and the search of his automobile is later conducted at another place without a warrant (US Const, Am IV).

4. Searches and Seizures -- Probable Cause -- Search Without Warrant -- Automobiles -- Exigent Circumstances -- Police Judgment.

Probable cause to believe that an automobile contains contraband or evidence of a crime is not, in itself, enough to bring into play the exception to the constitutional requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures; only in exigent circumstances, such as where it is not practicable to secure a warrant because the vehicle can be quickly moved out of the locality or jurisdiction in which the warrant must be sought, will the judgment of the police as to probable cause serve as a sufficient authorization for such a search.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcgregor

Allan White was convicted of larceny from a motor vehicle. ...


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