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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 135770 Find in a Library
Title: Automobile Search Warrant Exception in Texas: Have the Wheels Come Off?
Journal: Houston Law Review  Volume:28  Issue:3  Dated:(May 1991)  Pages:549-589
Author(s): R R Barton
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 41
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the U.S. Supreme Court's rationale for upholding warrantless searches of certain vehicles and critiques a relevant Texas court's decision accordingly.
Abstract: The 60-year history of the automobile exception to the search warrant, from "Carroll" to "Carney," demonstrates that the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently required vehicle mobility, whether actual or "ready," for the application of the exception. Mobility is required for the warrantless search because the vehicle has the potential to be moved from one jurisdiction to another during the period when a search warrant would be secured. In State v. Cantu (1989), a Texas appellate court misconstrued this rationale in failing to uphold the suppression of evidence obtained in the warrantless search of a vehicle rendered immobile for an extended period in a traffic accident. The Texas court incorrectly understood the automobile exception to be based in a lesser expectation of privacy for a vehicle. The automobile exception authorizes a warrantless investigatory search of an automobile only when there is probable cause to believe that it contains evidence of a crime and the automobile is actually, potentially, or readily mobile at the time it is seized. 391 footnotes
Main Term(s): Vehicle searches; Warrantless search
Index Term(s): Texas; US Supreme Court decisions
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