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United States v. Chavez, 985 F.3d 1234 (10th Cir. Jan. 20, 2021)

Jan 20, 2021

In this case involving a conviction for a felon in possession of a firearm, the Tenth Circuit reversed a denial of a motion to suppress.  The district court denied the motion based upon the inventory search exception.  While the handgun was in plain view on the driver-side floorboard which gave grounds for the officers’ locating the handgun, the court held there was no exception to the Fourth Amendment that justified the search of the vehicle and the officers’ taking possession of the gun.  The owner of the car took possession of the vehicle, negating the inventory search, and there was no risk justifying the community caretaker exception.