Colorado v. AllenAnnotate this Case
After a traffic stop of a Cadillac driven by Billie Allen, Greeley Police Department officers conducted an inventory search that yielded a handgun and methamphetamine. In an interlocutory appeal brought by the State of Colorado, the issue presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review centered on whether the district court erred in granting Allen’s pretrial request to suppress those items. The State argued no constitutional violation occurred when the Cadillac was seized and inventoried because the officers properly exercised their discretion in deciding to impound it. Alternatively, the State contended the officers were authorized to conduct either a protective search for weapons or a search pursuant to the automobile exception to the warrant requirement. The Supreme Court surmised whether the officers had probable cause to search the Cadillac, as required by the automobile exception, was a close question, but one it ultimately concluded the district court resolved correctly. And, because the Court also agreed with the district court that neither the protective search exception nor the inventory search exception could justify the challenged search, it affirmed the outcome.