State v. Crewe
The automobile exception to the search warrant requirement may not apply to a motor vehicle that rests on cinder blocks and is not capable of traveling on public highways with use of an ignition key. Allegedly, a confidential informant indicated that the defendant, Jeffery Crewe, was selling marijuana, and police observed a controlled purchase. Police arranged surveillance and allegedly observed Crewe place a firearm in a blue BMW motor vehicle that rested on cinder blocks. A black BMW had been parked nearby, and Crewe entered it. Police arrested Crewe and allegedly discovered 14 grams of marijuana on his person. A K-9 dog alerted at the trunk of the black BMW. Police searched without a search warrant and discovered a key to the blue BMW and packaging material. They did not find any drugs in the black BMW. Police searched the blue BMW and discovered the firearm in the trunk. Crewe moved to suppress and argued that he possessed a reasonable expectation of privacy in the blue BMW and that police violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The government objected that Crewe did not possess any expectation of privacy in the blue BMW and that, even if he did, the automobile exception to the search warrant requirement applied, because the blue BMW could have been towed. The Fourth Amendment protects the interior of motor vehicles from unreasonable intrusions by the police. The defendant, who owned the blue BMW and kept the trunk locked, possessed a reasonable expectation of privacy in the items in the trunk. Police were required to obtain a search warrant, prior to searching the trunk. The automobile exception to the warrant requirement did not apply, because the blue BMW was not mobile and capable of traveling on public highways with use of an ignition key. The court granted the motion to suppress the firearm discovered in the blue BMW. The automobile exception to the search warrant requirement applied to the black BMW, because it was mobile. Police had probable cause to search after the K-9 alerted. The court denied the motion to suppress evidence discovered in the black BMW.