State v. Dean

In State v. Dean, 206 Ariz. 158, P30, 76 P.3d 429, 437 (2003), the Arizona Supreme Court addressed the search of a vehicle incident to a defendant's arrest when the arrest was remote in time and location from the defendant's occupancy of the vehicle. 206 Ariz. 158, PP3-4, 76 P.3d at 431. A unanimous court noted that Chimel v. California, the seminal United States Supreme Court case authorizing warrantless searches incident to arrest, had emphasized that the scope of such a search "'must be "strictly tied to and justified by" the circumstances which rendered its initiation permissible. '" Dean, 206 Ariz. 158, P12, 76 P.3d at 433. Thus, the Arizona Supreme Court has reminded us that a warrantless search incident to arrest is not only justified, but is also limited, by the need to promote officer safety and prevent destruction of evidence. In that context, the supreme court has instructed us to examine "whether the totality of the facts . . . presents the kind of situation that justifies dispensing with the warrant requirement." Dean, 206 Ariz. 158, P34, 76 P.3d at 437. Indeed, the Dean court invalidated the search in the case before it precisely because "neither of the justifications for a warrantless search of the vehicle--protection of the arresting officers and preservation of the evidence--was present." Id. P32.