CAN THE POLICE SEARCH YOUR GLOVE COMPARTMENT (GLOVE BOX) DURING A TRAFFIC STOP?
The Ohio Court of Appeals recently held that police cannot search a glove box of a vehicle unless the police have sufficient probable cause to arrest, and a defendant is legally arrested legally. State v. Turner, 2016-Ohio-7983.
In Turner, a Defendant was charged with possession of drugs after detectives allegedly saw him accept an envelope containing various drugs. The Defendant parked his vehicle, and the detectives made contact with him. The detectives witnessed him put something into the glove box of the vehicle, and immediately removed him from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs.
While in handcuffs, the police interrogated him without first reading his Miranda rights.
FOUTH AMENDMENT OF THE US CONSTITUTION
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution protect individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868 (1968). The State has the burden of showing a warrantless search is constitutional, because warrantless searches are generally unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.
The State must demonstrate probable cause before any arrest can be found to be constitutional under the Fourth Amendment.
FURTIVE MOVEMENTS + OTHER FACTORS = PROBABLE CAUSE
“The police must have ‘probable cause’ to believe that they will find the instrumentality of a crime or evidence pertaining to a crime before they begin their warrantless search.” Dyke v. Taylor Implement Mfg. Co., 391 U.S. 216, 221, 88 S.Ct. 1472, (1968).
Furtive movements (where a defendant acts erratically or suspiciously) alone are not sufficient to justify the search of a car without a warrant. However, when a defendant is acting suspiciously, other factors will be considered to determine probable cause.
In the Turner case, other factors included all of the observations made by detectives, the presence of the envelope typical with drug transactions, and the detectives experience. The trial court found that probable cause for arrest did exist, and thus the detectives had grounds to search the glove compartment.
MIRANDA WARNINGS FOLLOWING PROBABLE CAUSE
However, the Court in Turner held that any incriminating statements made by the Defendant to the detective after being taken into custody must be thrown out because he was not given his Miranda warnings.
Failure to give Miranda warnings when required creates the presumption that a defendant is forced to answer police questions. State v. Hoskins, 197 Ohio App.3d 635, 2012-Ohio-25,
In Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291, 298, 100 S.Ct. 1682, (1980), the court allowed the term “interrogation” to be interpreted more broadly, to also include the more subtle “techniques of persuasion” sometimes employed by police officers that do not rise to the level of express questioning, but which also can be extremely coercive in some situations.
The detectives gave the Defendant the impression that he had no alternative but to admit he committed a crime in an effort to possibly lessen his punishment.
The coercive tactics of the detectives constituted an interrogation for the purposes of Miranda, and therefore the incriminating statements made by the Defendant were not admissible in court.