D.Minn.: Arrest for violation of a mutual no contact order justified search incident of car at scene

Arrest for violation of a state domestic relations no contact order justified a search incident of defendant’s car at the scene because it could have contained evidence of the violation, such as a weapon. United States v. Al-Amin, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68315 (D. Minn. Apr. 23, 2019):

There is no dispute that the crime of arrest was violation of a no contact order, Minn. Stat. § 609.748 (2018), which requires evidence of the prohibited party being in physical or verbal contact with the protected party. The question then is whether it was reasonable to believe that Al-Amin’s car might contain evidence relevant to committing the crime of violating a no contact order. The officers could reasonably believe that Al-Amin had returned to his vehicle to hide evidence of his violation, or that the vehicle contained evidence of his stalking his wife. The prosecution argues the officers could have been searching for Al-Amin’s phone, or other maps or documentation which would tend to prove his intent to violate the no contact order by deliberately approaching his wife, as opposed to having some accidental, unplanned encounter with her on the street as he claimed in his post-arrest statement. The 911 call report suggested that Al-Amin was using his car to follow his wife, which lends credence to the likelihood that evidence of the violation of the no contact order might be in the car. After Al-Amin was secured in the squad car, the officers learned from his wife, the victim, that he had threatened to shoot her tires with a gun. This bolstered the need to search his car. The gun would be a very significant piece of evidence in a violation of a no contact order case between volatile, disgruntled partners to a marriage.

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