Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Gant reversal

Meryl Carver-Allmond won in State v. Wear, No. 100,442 (Kan. App. Sept. 4, 2009)(unpublished), reversing a Harvey County drug conviction. The state had primarily argued that the search incident to arrest for driving with a suspended license was lawful under Belton, but as the COA explained that rationale doesn't survive Gant, blogged about here. The COA also rejected an alternative claim that this might have been a valid inventory search:
[Inventory searches] are deemed reasonable--even without a warrant--but only to serve narrow purposes: protecting an owner's property while it's in police custody and the police from claims of lost or stolen property or from hazardous objects contained within a criminal defendant's personal property. Searching Wear's luggage didn't serve any of those purposes because there was no plan (and no need) to take her personal property into police custody.
As a result, the COA reverses the conviction.

[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on October 8, 2009).

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