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Court affirms locked glove box search

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Without a case on point for the Indiana Court of Appeals to follow, the state’s second-highest appellate court has followed the direction of federal rulings and national precedent on allowing police to search locked glove boxes without a warrant.

The 2-1 ruling came today in Anthony A. Parish v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-1002-CR-74, in which the majority affirmed the judgment from Allen Superior Judge Frances Gull that denied Parish’s claims that a gun and marijuana found inside his car should have been suppressed because police didn’t have a warrant to search the locked glove box.

Judge Patricia Riley disagreed with her colleagues, finding that police weren’t justified in their warrantless search and that the evidence found inside should have been suppressed. Parish should receive a new trial, she found.

The case involves a September 2008 patrol stop where Fort Wayne police observed Parish’s vehicle making a turn without a signal. The officer recognized Parish as he was a suspect in several shootings, and police were on “high alert” that he was armed following a previous warning that he’d threatened to kill the next officer he encountered.

While waiting for backup to arrive on the scene, the officer ordered Parish out of the car and performed a pat-down search until another officer arrived and handcuffed Parish for another protective search. The first officer began a protective search inside the car and used the keys to unlock the glove box because of suspicions Parish was armed. Inside, that officer found a Smith and Wesson revolver and bag of what was later determined to be marijuana, but after seizing that evidence and checking his license and registration, let Parish leave with a moving citation for not using his turn signal.

Four months after that stop, police arrested Parish after finding the weapon seized matched ballistics to the weapon used in a murder that summer. He was ultimately convicted by a jury in November 2009 on murder, Class B felony robbery, and class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. He received 86 years incarceration.

Despite Parish’s attempts to have the evidence suppressed on Fourth Amendment illegal search grounds, the trial judge denied those motions setting the stage for this appeal.

In the 15-opinion, Judges Paul Mathias and Cale Bradford affirmed the trial judge’s handling of the case and found the police were justified in searching that locked glove box – though they did point out questions about why police had let Parish leave with only a traffic citation.

The majority determined it was reasonable for the officer to conclude her safety was in danger, and the judges relied on state caselaw allowing for warrantless searches in those situations.

“We think it goes without saying that a glove box is a place where a weapon could easily be placed or hidden,” Judge Mathias wrote, noting that this case is unique because it deals with a locked glove box being searched as part of a protective search. “In other words, does the fact that the glove box was locked mean that Parish could not gain immediate control of any weapon hidden therein? Although there appears to be no Indiana case directly on point, the federal courts of appeal, including the Seventh Circuit, have held that a locked glove box may be searched during a protective search of an automobile.”

The cases cited involved situations where occupants were initially removed from a car during a traffic stop because an officer might be in danger, but the occupants were allowed to return to that vehicle.

That differs from the facts in Arizona v. Gant, 129 S. Ct. 1710 (2009), in which the nation’s highest court ruled those searches weren’t allowed in situations where a driver is arrested and secured prior to that search being done by police.

Judge Riley dissented, saying that the state hadn’t proved that an exception to the search warrant requirement was needed. She cited Arizona v. Gant and how the Supreme Court limited law enforcement’s ability to search a vehicle and that applies here. That precedent guides Indiana law, she determined.

“While we are dealing here with a traffic stop, rather than an arrest, the fact remains that Parish, like Gant, was removed from his car and handcuffed,” she wrote. “Accordingly, because Parish no longer posed a threat, the officers cannot justify a search of his car based on a concern for officer safety. The justification of the search diminishes even more in light of the fact that the officers released Parish after the search. A more prudent course of action for the officers would have been to take Parish into custody as a ‘suspect in several shootings’ and then request a search warrant for his car.”
 

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  • sad
    the dissent had it right. Its basically a Terry stop and a ridiculous overextension of the reasoning behind them. Bill of socalled rights out the door, yet again!
  • Law
    This is simply a case that tells cops that their badge is a license to break the law and that they are above the law!

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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