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05/17/76 PEOPLE v. MORGAN CLARK

May 17, 1976

PEOPLE
v.
MORGAN CLARK



Appeal from Wayne, Theodore R. Bohn, J.

J. H. Gillis, P. J., and Quinn and R. E. Noble,* JJ. J. H. Gillis, P. J., concurred. R. E. Noble, J. (dissenting).

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Opinion of the Court

1. Searches and Seizures -- Automobiles -- Search of Wife's Car -- Standing.

A defendant has no standing to challenge the legality of a search of his wife's automobile and the seizure of a suitcase found inside where he was not present at the time of the search and seizure, he had no proprietary or possessory interest in either the suitcase and its contents or in the automobile, and the suitcase and its contents were not in his possession when seized.

Dissent by R. E. Noble, J.

2. Searches and Seizures -- Search Without Warrant -- Reasonableness -- Automobiles.

A search of private property without proper consent is unreasonable unless it has been authorized by a valid search warrant, except in certain carefully defined classes of cases; one class of cases which constitute at least a partial exception to the general rule is automobile searches.

3. Searches and Seizures -- Automobiles -- Inventory Search -- Reasonable Expectation of Privacy -- Police -- Motives.

An inventory of an automobile's contents is a search of the automobile because the inventory may involve an examination of areas where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy; good motives of the police in conducting an inventory cannot transform the inventory into anything other than a search.

4. Searches and Seizures -- Search Without Warrant -- Automobiles -- Inventory Search.

An automobile inventory search may properly be conducted without a warrant where the search is motivated by a police desire to protect individual property and the search is not primarily to ferret out incriminating evidence.

5. Searches and Seizures -- Inventory Search -- Permission of Owner -- Plain View -- Closed Containers.

The limits on an inventory search of an automobile are: (1) the owner or operator should be allowed to determine if he wants the property protected by the police and, if so, to what extent, (2) in cases where the owner or operator cannot make his wishes known, the property in most instances would be adequately safeguarded by rolling up the windows and locking the doors, subject to reasonable steps to safeguard property in plain view within the automobile, and (3) the inventory must be limited to those items in plain view and closed suitcases and containers are not to be opened.

6. Searches and Seizures -- Search Incident to Arrest.

Once an accused is under arrest and in custody, a search made at another place without a warrant is not incident to the arrest.

7. Searches and Seizures -- Search Incident to Arrest.

A search of a suitcase cannot be incident to a defendant's arrest where the defendant had not been arrested when the suitcase was examined.

8. Searches and Seizures -- Search Without Warrant -- Automobiles -- Probable Cause -- Exigent Circumstances.

The police must have probable cause to search an automobile without a warrant and there must be an exigent circumstance, such as an opportunity of automobile mobility; however, less stringent conditions are required for a warrantless search of an automobile than is otherwise required.

9. Searches and Seizures -- Probable Cause -- Automobiles -- Broken Taillight -- High-Speed Chase.

Police did not have reasonable or probable cause to believe that they would find the instrumentality of a crime in the car of a defendant who was driving with a broken taillight and who, when the police tried to stop him because of the broken taillight, sped up to 120 m.p.h., ditched his car, and then fled on foot.

10. Searches and Seizures -- Search Without Warrant -- Automobiles -- Exigent Circumstances.

There were no exigent circumstances to justify the search without a warrant of an automobile where the car was disabled, its owner was under arrest for a traffic violation, and a search warrant could have been sought from a magistrate before the owner would drive the car off.

11. Searches and Seizures -- Standing.

There is no standing to contest a search and seizure where the defendant (a) was not on the premises at the time of the contested search and seizure, (b) alleged no proprietary or possessory interest in the premises, and (c) was not charged with an offense that includes, as an essential element, possession of the seized evidence at the time of the contested search and seizure.

12. Searches and Seizures -- Standing.

A defendant, in order to have standing to contest a search and seizure, must have a legitimate interest of some kind in the premises searched or the objects seized.

13. Searches and Seizures -- Automobiles -- Search of Wife's Car -- Standing -- Reasonable Expectation of Privacy -- Abandonment.

A defendant has standing to contest a search of a stolen suitcase found on the back seat of his wife's car where the defendant, as the driver of the car and the husband of the car owner, had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the vehicle, where the defendant was the one against whom the search was directed, and ...


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