This blog is a part of series of reviews of important court decisions for the residents of Medina County, Wayne County and Summit County. These decisions usually come from the United States Supreme Court, the Ohio Supreme Court or the Ninth District Court of Appeals. In this series, Attorney Daniel Gigiano reviews such decisions and their impact on people’s lives.
In this article, I will be reviewing the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in State of Ohio v. Leak. In this 2016 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the police cannot search a legally parked car without a warrant. The arrest of an occupant of the vehicle does not, by itself, give the police authority to search a legally parked vehicle.
This case began when the Richland County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest for domestic violence. The Mansfield police department acted on the warrant when they searched the area where the suspect lived and found a legally parked car matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was ordered out of the car, arrested and placed into the back of the police car. Someone else was in the driver’s seat. Although the driver had a clean driving record, the driver was ordered out of the vehicle. The officer called for a tow truck and conducted an inventory search of the vehicle which revealed a firearm. The suspect
The Ohio Supreme Court held that this was an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article One of the Ohio Constitution. This was a good result because the police had no reason to tow the car, as there was a valid driver in control of it. This car was not likely to simply be abandoned after the arrest, which may have otherwise justified towing the vehicle.
Attorney Gigiano is a Wadsworth criminal law lawyer in Medina County. Call now at 330-336-3330 if you need the services of a Wooster criminal law lawyer near Orrville, an Akron criminal law lawyer near Barberton, or a Massillon criminal law lawyer near Canal Fulton.