August 4, 2008 By Wallin & Klarich

An accused parked his car a short distance from his home and walked toward his front door. A police officer stopped him and told him that he had failed to signal before changing lanes. The accused became upset and threatened the officer. The accused was on parole. The officer arrested him for making a threat against the police officer. The officer then proceeded to search the defendant’s vehicle and found an illegal firearm. The defendant was then tried and found guilty of possession of a firearm and sent to prison.

The accused appealed to all of the California State Courts and his appeal was denied.

He then appealed to the federal district court and his appeal was denied again. However, he did not give up. He appealed to the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals and recently his conviction was reversed.

The prosecution had convinced all of the other courts that the search was legally justified as being a lawful search “incident to a lawful arrest” and also as an “inventory search”. However, with the persistence of the accused and his California appeals attorney, the 9th Circuit held that neither exception applied nor the evidence had to be suppressed.

The 9th Circuit stated that since the auto was parked over one block from where the defendant was arrested it could not be searched incident to the arrest since it was too far away from where the accused was arrested. The court held that since the car was legally parked in a safe location it could not be searched as an “inventory search”. Finally, even though the accused was on parole and had given up his rights to search and seizure the court held that since the arresting officer did not have that information at the time of the search this could not justify the search.

The most important lessons to be learned from this case is that when you are accused of a serious criminal charge you need to legal help of an experienced Southern California criminal defense law firm like the exceptional law firm of Wallin and Klarich.

This case also teaches us you can never give up until all of your appellate rights are exhausted. If this person had given up he would be in prison today instead of being a free man.

Contact Wallin and Klarich 24/7 to assist you with any question you may have about your pending legal matter at 888-749-0034 and visit us at

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