Texas law governing search warrants of parked automobiles

Officers, along with federal authorities, took files from the diocese's headquarters, a storage site and St.

State v. Doile, Kan. | Casetext

Cecilia, a Catholic church in Oak Cliff, where the priest who sparked the investigation previously served. Police Maj. Authorities in at least a dozen states, including New York, New Jersey and Florida, have announced investigations into allegations of sex abuse by priests and cover-ups by church officials. And in November, prosecutors armed with a subpoena searched the offices of the Houston-Galveston Diocese, headed by Cardinal Daniel Dinardo, who also serves as president of the U. Conference of Catholic Bishops. On Jan.

Three Kinds of Warrants Allowing Access to Your Home

Dallas Diocese officials said they had hired a team of former law enforcement investigators to comb through the diocese's files to compile its list of 31 names. Seventeen people on the list were dead. And most of the allegations had already been reported.

But since the police investigation into one of the diocese's priests began last fall, at least five new allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced within the Dallas Diocese, Geron said. Cecilia, had been credibly accused of molesting three teenage boys in the parish over a decade ago. But, Clark wrote in the affidavit, the "file did not contain any information regarding the meeting between parishioners and Chancellor Edlund. Clark wrote that he reached out to the diocese's attorney Bill Sims, who told the detective that the diocese and victims who had come forward were in the "monetary settlement process.

The sexual abuse allegations against Paredes were made public in August. Burns, the Dallas bishop, told St. Shortly afterward, the diocese released its list of "credibly accused" priests. Burns said at the time that the list was part of an effort to be "accountable.

Cops can't automatically search your car, but the circumstances may allow them to.

We cannot grow lukewarm. The affidavit says "it is noteworthy [that] these investigators were initially hired to investigate financial improprieties involving the Diocese's priests, not sexual abuse allegations. Dallas police said the McChesney Group reviewed the sexual abuse allegations only "out of convenience, given they were already hired and in place.

But Annette G. Burns and the Diocesan Review Board, made up of non-clergy professionals including law enforcement experts, were the final arbiters of what constituted a credible sexual abuse allegation, the affidavit says. Files that police have seen also did not name victims or provide evidence that priests had been punished. Clark wrote that he repeatedly ran into missing information about the accused priests. Those allegations dated to the s. It took three weeks for church officials to turn over 51 additional pages from the file. Subsequent cases make clear that the decision in Carroll was not based on the fact that the only course available to the police was an immediate search.

As Justice Harlan later recognized, although a failure to seize a moving automobile believed to contain contraband might deprive officers of the illicit goods, once a vehicle itself has been stopped, the exigency does not necessarily justify a warrantless search. Chambers v. The Court in Chambers, however -- with only Justice Harlan dissenting -- refused to adopt a rule that would permit a warrantless seizure but prohibit a warrantless search.

The Court held that, if police officers have probable cause to justify a warrantless seizure of an automobile on a public roadway, they may conduct an immediate search of the contents of that vehicle. For constitutional purposes, we see no difference between, on the one hand, seizing and holding a car before presenting the probable cause issue to a magistrate, and, on the other hand, carrying out an immediate search without a warrant.

Given probable cause to search, either course is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The Court also has held that, if an immediate search on the street is permissible without a warrant, a search soon thereafter at the police station is permissible if the vehicle is impounded.

Chambers, supra; Texas v. White, U. These decisions are based on the practicalities of the situations presented and a realistic appraisal of the relatively minor protection that a contrary rule would provide for privacy interests. Given the scope of the initial intrusion caused by a seizure of an automobile -- which often could leave the occupants stranded on the highway -- the Court rejected an inflexible rule that would force police officers in every case either to post guard at the vehicle while a warrant is obtained or to tow the vehicle itself to the station.

Similarly, if an immediate search on the scene could be conducted, but not one at the station if the vehicle is impounded, police often simply would search the vehicle on the street -- at no advantage to the occupants, yet possibly at certain cost to the police. The rules as applied in particular cases may appear unsatisfactory.

Warrantless Searches of Motor Vehicles

They reflect, however, a reasoned application of the more general rule that, if an individual gives the police probable cause to believe a vehicle is transporting contraband, he loses the right to proceed on his way without official interference. After reviewing the relevant authorities at some length, the Court concluded that the probable cause requirement was satisfied in the case before it. The Court held that. Brinegar v. See Husty v.

Police Need Warrants to Search Vehicles at Private Homes, High Court Rules

United States, supra; Henry v. United States, supra; Dyke v. Taylor Implement Mfg. Maroney, supra; Texas v. White, supra; Colorado v. Bannister, U. Warrantless searches of automobiles have been upheld in a variety of factual contexts quite different from that presented in Carroll. Cooper v. Dombrowski, U. Opperman, U. Many of these searches do not require a showing of probable cause that the vehicle contains contraband. We are not called upon to -- and do not -- consider in this case the scope of the warrantless search that is permitted in those cases.

As the Court in Carroll concluded:. We here find the line of distinction between legal and illegal seizures of liquor in transport in vehicles. It is certainly a reasonable distinction.


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It gives the owner of an automobile or other vehicle seized under Section 26, in absence of probable cause, a right to have restored to him the automobile, it protects him under the Weeks [ Weeks v. On the other hand, in a case showing probable cause, the Government and its officials are given the opportunity, which they should have, to make the investigation necessary to trace reasonably suspected contraband goods and to seize them. The District Court noted:. In this case, there was no nexus between the search and the automobile, merely a coincidence.


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  • The challenged search in this case was one of a footlocker, not an automobile. The search took place not in an automobile, but in [the federal building].

    Supreme Court finds exception in automobile-search precedent

    The only connection that the automobile had to this search was that, prior to its seizure, the footlocker was placed on the floor of an automobile's open trunk. This Court specifically noted:. The Government does not contend that the footlocker's brief contact with Chadwick's car makes this an automobile search, but it is argued that the rationale of our automobile search cases demonstrates the reasonableness of permitting warrantless searches of luggage; the Government views such luggage as analogous to motor vehicles for Fourth Amendment purposes.

    See id. The Court concluded that there is a significant difference between the seizure of a sealed package and a subsequent search of its contents; the search of the container in that case was "a far greater intrusion into Fourth Amendment values than the impoundment of the footlocker. A temporary seizure of a package or piece of luggage often may be accomplished without as significant an intrusion upon the individual -- and without as great a burden on the police as in the case of the seizure of an automobile.

    See n. The Arkansas Supreme Court carefully reviewed the facts of the case and concluded:. The information supplied to the police by the confidential informant is adequate to support the State's claim that the police had probable cause to believe that appellant's green suitcase contained a controlled substance when the police confiscated the suitcase and opened it. Sanders v. State, Ark. The court also noted: "The evidence in this case supports the conclusion that the relationship between the suitcase and the taxicab is coincidental.


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    • Moreover, none of the practical difficulties associated with the detention of a vehicle on a public highway that made the immediate search in Carroll reasonable could justify an immediate search of the suitcase, since the officers had no interest in detaining the taxi or its driver.