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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134827 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Procedure -- Pennsylvania Strips the Inventory Search Exception From Its Rationale -- Commonwealth v. Nace, 524 Pa. 323, 571 A.2d 1389, cert. denied, 111 S. Ct. 426 (1990)
Journal: Temple Law Review  Volume:64  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1991)  Pages:267-279
Author(s): J T Lukens
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 13
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The inventory exception to the fourth amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure is prompted by administrative and caretaking considerations, rather than by probable cause. However, in Commonwealth v. Nace, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended the inventory search exception to include police confiscation of a telephone number written on the cover of an address book found in the arrestee's wallet, thereby leaving the police authority to seize an arrestee's personal effects during an inventory search almost unlimited.
Abstract: Nace was different from other inventory search cases previously upheld by courts in that the phone number seized was not immediately identifiable evidence of criminal activity. By giving the police such broad investigatory powers as part of a routine inventory search, the court eliminated the general proscription against an investigatory pretext in the context of inventory searches. By stripping away the exception from its rationale, the court provides little guidance to lower courts analyzing inventory searches. Furthermore, the author criticizes the court for failing to provide sufficient analysis to uphold the admission of the telephone number; had the court evaluated the facts under a search incident to arrest analysis, the evidence could have been admitted without ignoring established precedent. 109 notes
Main Term(s): Rules of evidence; Search and seizure laws
Index Term(s): Pennsylvania; State supreme courts
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