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NCJ Number: 97898 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Search of an Automobile Incident to an Arrest - An Analysis of New York v Belton
Journal: Marquette Law Review  Volume:67  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1984)  Pages:205-261
Author(s): D S Rudstein
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 57
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in New York v. Belton and argues that the Court went beyond the rationale justifying a search incident to an arrest.
Abstract: New York v. Belton applied the Chimel 'immediate control' test to the arrest of an occupant of a motor vehicle. (In Chimel v. California, the Court held that there was ample justification for a search of the arrestee's person and the area 'within his immediate control.') In Belton, a State trooper who stopped an automobile for speeding smelled marijuana, discovered an envelope containing the drug, and searched the four occupants and the vehicle. Inside the pocket of a jacket belonging to Belton, the trooper also discovered a small amount of cocaine. Belton moved to suppress the cocaine on fourth amendment grounds, and the New York Court of Appeals concurred. However, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Court's judgment, upholding the search of Belton's jacket as valid. Nonetheless, the Court's reasoning to support its decision to reject a case-by-case analysis in favor of a per se rule is unsound; it is based on invalid conclusions and will thus lead to results inconsistent with the underlying rationale for allowing a warrantless search incident to an arrest. The rule is subject to police abuse and the Court's rationale applies equally to nonautomobile situations and thus could lead to general emasculation of the Chimel 'immediate control' principle. The Court should abolish the per se rule and return to the rationale of Chimel. Included are 224 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Automobiles; Drug law offenses; US Supreme Court decisions; Warrantless search
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