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Virginia- Police may not inventory-search cars with unfettered discretion

Aug 18, 2015 Virginia- Police may not inventory-search cars with unfettered discretion

Car

When police claim the accused possessed contraband, a key path of attack is to seek to suppress evidence of the seizure and search that turned up the alleged contraband. Praised be Virginia’s intermediate appellate court for recently overturning a contraband-bearing car inventory search, because:

“[W]e conclude that the inventory search was not performed pursuant to any standardized police procedures of the RPD, and was instead conducted in a manner determined by Officer McGhee’s sole and unfettered discretion and also because the search was conducted with an investigatory motive that is inconsistent with the purpose of the community caretaker doctrine, we reverse the trial court’s denial of Cantrell’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained from the inventory search and remand for a new trial consistent with our analysis and holding if the Commonwealth is so advised.”

Cantrell v. Virginia, __ Va. App. ___ (July 28, 2015).

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