Cal.6th: Inventory wouldn’t permit removal of dashboard, but finding drugs during inventory turned into probable cause for a search

Defendant’s car had cocaine hidden in a compartment behind the dashboard. Normally, an inventory search would not permit removal of car parts to conduct it. Here, however, the officer found cocaine under the seat during the inventory, and that was probable cause for an automobile exception search into the dashboard where, in his “training and experience,” he believed he would find more, and he did. Thus, the search was ultimately reasonable. People v. Zabala, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 996 (6th Dist. Nov. 13, 2017).

The encounter with the defendant on the Amtrak train in ABQ (easier than spelling Albuquerque) was consensual and not intimidating. Defendant said that the officer was looming over her but the court doesn’t find that credible. There was an audio recording of their interaction which the court credits showing that it was all consensual. United States v. Castro-Gallegos, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191794 (D. N.M. Jan. 29, 2016).*

This entry was posted in Automobile exception, Consent, Inventory. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.