COOPER V. CALIFORNIA, 386 U. S. 58 (1967)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Cooper v. California, 386 U.S. 58 (1967)

Cooper v. California

No. 103

Argued December 8, 1966

Decided February 20, 1967

386 U.S. 58


Petitioner was convicted of a narcotics violation in a California state court partly through evidence which the police seized in a warrantless search of his car a week after his arrest. Pending forfeiture proceedings, the car had been impounded "as evidence" pursuant to a statutory provision for the seizure and forfeiture of vehicles used in violation of the narcotics laws. The state appellate court, in a decision which the supreme court declined to review, held the search and seizure unconstitutional under Preston v. United States, 376 U. S. 364, but held the evidentiary error harmless under the State Constitution's harmless error provision.

Held: Under the circumstances of this case, the police did not violate the Fourth Amendment by making a search, closely related to the reason petitioner was arrested, of a car which they validly held for use as evidence in a forfeiture proceeding. Preston, supra, distinguished. Pp. 386 U. S. 59-62.

234 Cal.App.2d 587, 44 Cal.Rptr. 483, affirmed.

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