WI: Search incident for shoplifting permitted search of small canister on keychain

Defendant was arrested for shoplifting, and, on her arrest, a search incident of a small canister attached to her keychain was reasonable, despite it being so small no evidence of theft would be there. State v. Meisenhelder, 2022 Wisc. App. LEXIS 517 (June 15, 2022):

P8 Meisenhelder argues that the police did not have probable cause to open the small metal canister attached to her keychain during the search of her purse because, she asserts, it was too small to contain a weapon or evidence of a crime. Meisenhelder relies on State v. Sutton, 2012 WI App 7, 338 Wis. 2d 338, 808 N.W.2d 411 (2011), where this court held the warrantless search of vials police found during a protective search of Sutton’s car during a traffic stop violated the Fourth Amendment. Id., ¶¶2, 7-11. The State responds that the search of Meisenhelder’s canister did not violate the Fourth Amendment because it was a search incident to arrest, and Meisenhelder was within reaching distance of her purse. The State cites to numerous cases concluding that when a suspect is searched incident to arrest, police can search anything on “‘the arrestee’s person'” and “‘the area from within which [the suspect] might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.'” See, e.g., United States v. Hill, 818 F.3d 289, 295 (7th Cir. 2016) (alteration in original; citations omitted). We conclude the law permitted the search of the canister in Meisenhelder’s purse.

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