Hey guys, I recently started writing for In Cold Blog and I did my first post today on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. Gant. Come by here and take a look.
Arizona v. Gant is an important decision because it not only turns thirty years of police training and practice on searching vehicles incident to arrest on its ear, but also because it represents a significant departure from the precedents established in Chimel v. California and New York v. Belton.
The basic issue here concerns an officer’s legal authority to search your car in addition to your person at the time of the arrest. In Chimel v. California (1969) the Court said that an officer could search the area within the reach of an arrested person at the time of the arrest. In New York v. Belton, the Court extended the scope of their decision in Chimel to include the entire passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. To me, the Belton decision represented a simple, common sense standard for arrest, search and seizure. And that makes the Court’s decision in Arizona v. Gant mystifying. They violated the old common sense rule of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Come by In Cold Blog and read the full article, where you’ll get a much more detailed account of exactly what the Court decided in Arizona v. Gant, plus my take on how this will change police procedures in the future.