Commonwealth v. Holloway

In Commonwealth v. Holloway, 9 Va. App. 11, 384 S.E.2d 99, 103-04, 6 Va. Law Rep. 183 (Va. Ct. App. 1989) the Virginia Court of Appeals held a defendant's failure to claim luggage "need not be interpreted as abandonment." There, drug enforcement agents boarded a train, told the defendant's companion they were investigating illegal drugs on the train, and asked the defendant and his companion if they owned two particular pieces of luggage, which were searched and found to contain drugs after neither the defendant nor any other passenger claimed them. Id. at 101. The state argued the search was proper because the defendant had abandoned the luggage by not claiming it when asked. Id. In upholding the trial court's suppression ruling, the court noted the luggage had been in a proper place for storage on the train, and the owner could have chosen not to answer or have been unavailable when the agents were questioning other passengers. Id. at 103-04.