X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Elaine Stokvis was a passenger in a truck driven by a man known as Shorty when the two were stopped for speeding. Shorty gave the officers permission to search the truck. Stokvis’ purse was on the passenger seat, while she stood outside. One of the officers opened the purse and discovered methamphetamine inside. Stokvis admitted the purse and the drugs were hers. Stokvis was arrested for possession. Her luggage was then searched and drug paraphernalia was found. Upon being charged with possession of a controlled substance, Stokvis filed a motion to suppress the drugs. It was unclear at the hearing whether anyone told Stokvis of the officers’ intent to search the vehicle or whether Stokvis had exited the truck before Shorty gave the officers permission to search it. One officer said he thought Shorty gave his consent outside Stokvis’ presence and that it was “very possible” Stokvis didn’t hear the officer ask Shorty for his consent. The trial court denied the motion to suppress, and Stokvis appeals. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The state first argues that Stokvis doesn’t have standing to protest the search of the truck, but the court points out that Stokvis is not questioning the search of the truck, but the search of her purse. Because a purse is intended as a “general repository” of personal items, Stokvis had a legitimate expectation of privacy in it and its contents, so she has standing to question the legitimacy of its search. The court also notes that Stokvis did not have knowledge that the search of the truck, much less her purse, was going to take place. Without proof that Stokvis left her purse in the vehicle with knowledge in would be searched, it cannot be reasonably inferred that the act of leaving the purse in the vehicle showed some indicia of intent to relinquish her expectation of privacy in it. “Nor is this court prepared to say that a female must either carry her purse on her person at all times or place it under lock and key as a condition of retaining her privacy interest.” Turning then to the legitimacy of the search, the court then finds that there was no evidence to suggest Shorty carried a purse or wore feminine garb, nor evidence that Shorty exerted or claimed to exert some aspect of control over or an interest in the purse, and that Stokvis claimed ownership of the purse. Under these circumstances, the court rules that the search of the purse was improper. It is true that third parties may give consent to search the property of another, but for the consent to be valid, the third party must have standing to dispute the search; and, that is something the state must prove, but didn’t in this case. OPINION:Quinn, J.; Johnson, C.J.,Quinn and Campbell, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.