State v. TorresAnnotate this Case
The law enforcement officer in this case conducted a constitutional search under the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332 (2009), relating to a search-incident-to-lawful-arrest exception in a vehicle context.
Defendant sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant (CI). The CI paid for the methamphetamine with $220 cash provided by law enforcement officers who had recorded each bill’s serial number. Defendant entered a nearby apartment and then got in the passenger seat of a car and left. A law enforcement officer pulled over the car. Another officer formally arrested Defendant and searched the car, finding $200 of the recorded money. Defendant moved to suppress the evidence seized in the car search, arguing that the officer conducted an illegal, warrantless search without probable cause or a reasonable basis to believe the money at issue would be in the car rather than the apartment. The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals appealed, concluding that the search fell within the automobile and search-incident-to-lawful-arrest exceptions to the warrant requirement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under Gant, the car was validly searched as a search incident to a lawful arrest.