In a decision today, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of a man whose
constitutional rights were violated in a warrantless search of a car.
They decided that an arrest of an occupant of a legally parked vehicle
does not provide sufficient and justified merit to impound the vehicle
and allow for a warrantless search. It is in violation of the man’s
Fourth Amendment rights.
Justice William M. O’Neill authored the opinion stating that the
warrantless search of the defendant’s vehicle was unlawful. The
decision also included the lack of authority from police to impound the
vehicle lawfully, thus making the subsequent inventory search unlawful.
The case involving Quayshaun Leak went to the Fifth District Court of Appeals
first where the search was found reasonable. The final ruling by the Ohio
Supreme Court, however, reverses that decision, as well as grants the
defendant’s motion to suppress the gun as evidence and vacates his
In order for a search incident to an arrest to be lawful, the officer must
search the vehicle when the occupant has been arrested and if unsecured
within reaching distance of the vehicle. The search may also take place
should the officer have reasonable belief that the vehicle contains evidence
of the crime. In Leak’s case, the judge found that the arresting
officer did not obtain the warrant and had no idea of the involvement
of the vehicle in the charges leading to the arrest.
At Koffel Brininger Nesbitt, we firmly believe that everyone’s constitutional
rights should be upheld. If your rights have been violated, our Columbus
criminal defense attorneys may be able to help you. Our goal is to guide
our clients through the process so we can defend their rights at every
step of the process.
Call today and learn how our firm can help defend you from the charges you face.