California Police to Seize for ''Safekeeping''

In People v. Miller (1972) 7 Cal.3d 219, the California Supreme Court held that a defendant's refusal to permit the police to seize equipment for " 'safekeeping' " did not create probable cause to search. (Id. at pp. 224-225.) The court explained, "such an argument--formulating 'probable cause' from an individual's refusal to consent to a police search or seizure--would directly penalize an individual simply for exercising his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by police." The court noted that the "state may not transform a defendant's refusal to waive his Fourth Amendment rights into a 'suspicious' activity evidencing criminal conduct." (Id. at pp. 225-226.)