LA: Search incident can occur before formal arrest

The trial court denied the motion to suppress and the court of appeals reversed. When defendant’s name came back as having a warrant, the fact the search occurred before the formal arrest doesn’t matter. State v. Owens, 2017 La. LEXIS 2617 (Nov. 13, 2017) (per curiam):

There is no question the traffic stop here was lawful. While conducting the traffic stop, the officer discovered an outstanding warrant. The officer’s decision to run the warrant check was a “negligibly burdensome precautio[n]” for officer safety. Rodriguez …. Furthermore, “[a] warrant is a judicial mandate to an officer to conduct a search or make an arrest, and the officer has a sworn duty to carry out its provisions.” United States v. Leon, …. Once the officer was authorized to arrest defendant, it was undisputedly lawful to search her as an incident of the arrest. See Arizona v. Gant, … Furthermore, where the formal arrest followed quickly on the heels of the challenged search, it is “not … particularly important that the search preceded the arrest rather than vice versa.” Rawlings v. Kentucky, …. Therefore, we reverse the court of appeal, reinstate the trial court’s ruling denying defendant’s motion to suppress, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.

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