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NJ Search of Impounded Car Improperly Conducted

04
May
2010

by in Criminal Appeals

State v. Darius S. Mansoory, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-5735-08T4 (March 17, 2010) – Suppression of evidence affirmed. Although it was proper for the police to impound the car (defendant driver intoxicated, passenger had no license) and open the wallet found during an inventory of the car’s contents, “when the officer unfolded the papers found within the wallet, the officer exceeded the permissible scope of the inventory.

The papers did not appear to be valuable. Furthermore, Spahr testified that he unfolded the papers because he suspected that they contained illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. Therefore, the search of the contents of the papers found in the wallet was not undertaken for one of the purposes identified in [South Dakota v. ]Opperman[, 428 U.S. 364 (1976)]…. The search at issue here was not undertaken pursuant to a policy designed to prevent or deter a terrorist attack upon a ferry. As we have explained, the search was in furtherance of the DRPA’s policy to inventory the contents of an impounded vehicle.”

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