Wednesday, August 01, 2007

South Carolina Supreme Court Issues Warrantless Search Opinion

In State v. Weaver, Weaver argued that evidence found in a Jeep should have been suppressed because it was searched without a warrant. The Supreme Court disagreed and held that there was probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of the Jeep. Investigators knew that Weaver, a suspect in McKnight’s murder, had been seen driving the Jeep around the time of the murder. Upon finding the Jeep, it seemed apparent there had been an attempt to destroy evidence given the Jeep’s interior was wet and smelled of bleach. Therefore, upon finding the Jeep, the investigators could have conducted the search at that time; however, they chose to impound the vehicle and search it later. The fact investigators chose to wait to search the Jeep after it had already been impounded did not affect the propriety of the warrantless search because there is no requirement that the warrantless search of a vehicle occur contemporaneously with its lawful seizure.

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