Monday, November 09, 2009

U.S. v. Ruckes (9th Cir. - Nov. 6, 2009)

I feel like I shouldn't have to say this. Yet the same basic fact pattern -- with only slight variations -- comes up again and again.

Let's assume you have some crack cocaine and a loaded weapon with you in your vehicle. Is it really wise to go over 80 mph on the I-5? Remember: that's going to give the police probable cause to stop you. Can you really not limit yourself to 65 miles per hour regardless of the cost? You're really that itching to go to prison for the next decade or so?

Oh, yeah. Did I forget to mention that you're driving on a suspended license? Shouldn't hat maybe should factor into your equation too when you're thinking: "Hmm. 65 or 80? What's the best speed for me to choose on this one?" Right?

As for the crack itself, do you also think you could hide it a little better than spack dab in the center console of the car? I mean, come on. During a search the police are going to look there pretty much first thing. And find it. And arrest you. And send you to prison.

And even if the Ninth Circuit subsequently finds that, yeah, they technically shouldn't have searched (because you were already under arrest at the time of the search, and didn't have access to the car any longer), since the stuff was so freaking easy to find, they're still going to affirm. On the ground that the stuff would have been found in an inventory search anyway. Since, again, you made it totally easy.

To summarize. Don't carry crack. Especially alongside weapons. And if you do, don't speed. Or put the stuff virtually in plain sight.

Something to think about as we start our workweek.