United States v. Morris, No. 20-2298 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence discovered during a vehicle search and statements made to a task force agent. The court concluded that the district court did not clearly err in finding that defendant had not maintained control or possession of the vehicle while awaiting the tow truck's arrival. In this case, there is no dispute that defendant was under arrest and in the back of the patrol vehicle during the search, that no one else was present to take possession of the vehicle, and that the deputy made the decision to tow the vehicle. Furthermore, defendant's request that the deputy retrieve his cash and phone from the vehicle further indicates that defendant did not expect to retain custody over the vehicle and its contents during the towing process. The court also concluded that the district court did not clearly err in concluding that the need to conduct an inventory of the vehicle's contents did not constitute a pretext for an investigatory search.