This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
3092 (1976) Facts: Local police impounded the Respondent’s vehicle for a traffic violation. Without a warrant, the police opened Respondent’s unlocked vehicle to inventory its contents. Taking an inventory of impounded vehicle was part of local police procedure. While taking this inventory, police found marijuana in the glove box of Respondent’s vehicle. Respondent was subsequently tried and convicted for possession of marijuana. Issue: Is a routine police inventory of contents of a lawfully impounded car in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments? Decision: No; reversed Reasons: Applying the Fourth Amendment standard of “reasonableness” the state courts have overwhelmingly concluded that, even if an inventory is characterized as a “search” the intrusion is constitutionally permissible. Likewise, the majority of federal courts of appeals have held the inventory to be a valid police procedure. The courts have recognized that standard inventories often include an examination of the glove compartment, which as for the temporary storage of valuables. Rule: A standard police procedure to inventory the contents of lawfully impounded automobiles is, under the Fourth Amendment, a reasonable intrusion to safeguard the owner’s property, to ensure the safety of the police and to protect against claims of lost or stolen property; evidence of crime found during such a standard inventory may be seized by the police and is admissible in a criminal case.