United States v. Bettis, No. 18-2407 (8th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress nearly 2000 grams of heroin found in a rental car defendant was driving. The court held that, even if a strawman eliminated Fourth Amendment standing, the evidence here does not establish a strawman situation and the court's precedent holds that an unauthorized and unlicensed driver may challenge a search of a rental car operated with the renter’s permission. Therefore, defendant had standing to challenge the search of the vehicle.
The court also held that, as the encounter with defendant unfolded, officers developed additional evidence indicating deception and criminal conduct. Therefore, the officers had probable cause to seize the vehicle and continue the search.