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Articles

Knock and Talks

Miranda Waivers

Recent Cases

People v. Johnson (2020) __ Cal.App.5th __ [2020 WL 3166612]
ISSUES: (1) Does the odor of marijuana from inside a vehicle provide officers with probable cause to search it for marijuana? (2) Is it illegal to transport a container of marijuana in a vehicle if it is closed but not sealed?

Note on marijuana in a vehicle: There is some confusion as to whether a container of marijuana in a vehicle must be “closed” or “sealed.” The source of this confusion is the interrelationship between the Health & Safety Code and the Vehicle Code. The Vehicle Code prohibits driving a vehicle in which there is a container of marijuana that “has been opened or has a seal broken.” Vehicle Code § 23222(b)(1). Emphasis added. But the Health & Safety Code requires only that these containers be closed. Health & Saf. Code § 11362.3(a)(4). So, which statute governs? For the following reasons, it seems apparent that it is the Health & Safety Code:

  1. Health & Saf. Code § 11362.1(a) states that its provisions override “any other provision of law.” Because the Health & Safety Code and the Vehicle Code conflict on this issue, the Health & Safety Code governs. Also see People v. Johnson (2020) 50 Cal.App.5th 620, __ [“Based on the plain language of the statute and its legislative history, we conclude section 11362.3, subdivision (a)(4) applies to a container or package of cannabis that is open when found”]; People v. Fews (2018) 27 Cal.App.5th 553, 563 [“Section 11362.1 does not permit any person to possess an open container or open package of cannabis or cannabis products while driving, operating, or riding in the passenger seat or compartment of a motor vehicle” Emphasis added; U.S. v. Talley (2020 N.D. Cal.) __ F.Supp.3rd ___ [2020 WL 3275735] [court rejects the government’s argument that “any non-sealed container is illegal]; People v. Shumake (2019) 45 Cal.App.5th Supp.1 553, 563 [Court rejects the government's argument that cannabis in a vehicle "must be in a heat-sealed container."]. The only case in which a court ruled that containers of marijuana and alcohol must both be sealed is People v. McGee (2020) __ Cal.App.5th __ [2020 WL 4783643] in which the court ruled that the driver of a car violated section 11362.3(a)(4) because the officer “witnessed the passenger in possession of an unsealed container of marijuana.” Emphasis added. (McGee was originally an unpublished opinion but, for some incomprehensible reason, was later published.)
  2. Health & Saf. Code § 11362.1(c) states: “Cannabis and cannabis products involved in any way with conduct deemed lawful by this section are not contraband nor subject to seizure, and no conduct deemed lawful by this section shall constitute the basis for detention, search, or arrest.” Thus, marijuana in a closed but unsealed container is “not contraband,” and will not, in and of itself, provide probable cause to search or arrest.

People v. Henderson (2020) __ Cal.5th __ [2020 WL 4355709]
ISSUE: Did an officer violate Miranda in obtaining a confession from a murder suspect?

People v. Bowen (2020) __ Cal.App.5th __ [2020 WL 3989644]
ISSUE: Did officers have grounds to initiate an emergency "ping" on a suspect's cell phone?

U.S. v. Curry (4th Cir. 2020) __ F.3d __ [2020 WL 3980362]
ISSUES: (1) Did officers have grounds to detain a person who was leaving a location from which gunshots had just been fired? (2) Under what circumstances, if any, may officers detain a person on grounds of exigent circumstances?

U.S. v. Rickmon (7th Cir. 2020) __ F.3d __ [2020 WL 1164269]
ISSUE: Under what circumstances can a ShotSpotter alert provide officers with grounds to detain people in the area?

U.S. v. Moore-Bush (1st Cir. 2020) __ F.3d __ [2020 WL 3249060]
ISSUE: Must officers have a search warrant to install and monitor a pole camera located across the street from a suspect's home?

Kansas v. Glover (2020) __ U.S. __ [2020 WL 1668283]
Issue: If an officer runs the license plate on a moving vehicle and learns that the registered owner’s license had been suspended or revoked, does the officer have grounds to stop the vehicle to investigate?

People v. Lopez (2020) __ Cal.App.5th __ [2020 WL 1163518]
Issue: If officers arrest a person for driving under the influence of drugs, does he effectively consent to a blood draw if he does not object when informed that he is required by law to provide a blood sample?

U.S. v. Blakeney (4th Cir. 2020) 949 F.3d 851
Issues: Did a search warrant affidavit for a blood draw establish probable cause to believe that a DUI suspect was impaired? (2) Did the affidavit establish probable cause to search the Event Data Recorder in the suspect's car?

People v. Rubio (2020) 43 Cal.App.5t 342
Issue: Under what circumstances will a “shots fired outside a residence” constitute an exigent circumstance that would authorize a warrantless entry into a home to search for victims?

In re Anthony L. (2019 ) 43 Cal.App.5th 438
Issue: What are the consequences if officers interrogate a 15-year old suspect who has not yet conferred with an attorney?