United States v. Venezia, No. 19-1432 (10th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Defendant-appellant Hunter Venezia appealed following his conditional plea to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He argued the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence found after a traffic stop led to the impoundment and search of the vehicle he was driving in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. To the Tenth Circuit, defendant argued the district court erred in concluding the impoundment of the vehicle was constitutional. “Ascertaining whether an impoundment is justified by a reasonable and legitimate, non-pretextual community-caretaking rationale is not an easy task.” Reviewing the specific facts of this case de novo, the Tenth Circuit concluded the impoundment was inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s description of the community-caretaking doctrine, and the Tenth Circuit’s own enumerated factors in United States v. Sanders, 796 F.3d 1241 (10th Cir. 2015). Judgment was reversed and the matter remanded for the district court to vacate defendant’s conviction and sentence.