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State v. Hanna

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-14-2012
Case #: A145291
Haselton, P.J. for the Court; Armstrong, J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/sites/Publications/A145291.pdf

Criminal Procedure: For the purposes of searching impounded vehicles, the bed of a truck under a locked tonneau cover does not constitute a trunk or an external container.

Defendant appealed his felony possession conviction claiming that the police officer’s search of the bed of his pickup truck under a locked tonneau cover constituted an unlawful search. After Defendant was arrested following a traffic stop, the police towed and impounded his vehicle. According to inventory policy, officers may search the trunk or any exterior containers of impounded vehicles. When police officers searched the bed of the truck, they discovered a shotgun. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. On appeal, the Court determined the inventory policy did not authorize the examination of the bed of his truck under the tonneau cover. The Court held that pickup trucks do not have “trunks” as described in the policy and that the truck bed is not an “external vehicle container.” As such, the search of the bed of the pickup truck was unlawful and the shotgun should have been suppressed. Possession charge reversed and remanded. Otherwise affirmed.