Tuesday, February 22, 2005

US v. Osife

Defendant was arrested for public urination (someone spied him pissing by his car). He was arrested, and then his car was searched. A gun was found, and the defendant as convicted of being a prohibited possessor. Defendant argued that the arrest had to be connected with the actual offense, trying to limit Thornton on v. US, 124 S. Ct. 2127 (2004). Thornton held that a car could be searched even if the occupant was outside whether or not there was a reasonable chance of finding evidence. The distinction that defendant tried to draw was that the evidence had to be in principle related to the vehicle, and public urination wasn't. Defendant used the concurrence of Justice Scalia (joined by Justice Ginsberg) in Thornton that drew this distinction. The 9th was sympathetic to the argument, and granted that the 4th amend jurisprudence is getting stranger and stranger as it goes through this convolutions -- but in the end held that the Supremes ruled, and that 7 votes would have a car searched if the defendant had been a recent occupant, keeping the fiction that he coudl escape handcuffs and run to the car to get a weapon.


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