In State v. Gould, the Ohio Supreme Court held a search of abandoned property admissible when it held that the police can search an abandoned hard drive. The suspect in this case had left a hard drive behind in his apartment in August 2006. When he left the apartment, he stole a truck belonging to his brother, who was also his roommate. He also concealed himself until he was arrested in Michigan in June 2007. The suspect never asked about the hard drive and never tried to get it back. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that these actions amounted to abandonment of the hard drive. Because the property was abandoned, the police were free to search the hard drive when the suspect’s mother turned it over to them.
The police need reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed prior to pulling someone over or temporarily detaining them. The police need probable cause to arrest someone. Even if the police are wrong, as long as they acted in good faith, the stop, detention or arrest is still valid. This is known as the good faith exception. If the criminal record computer system, otherwise known as LEADS, shows that someone has an arrest warrant, the police can arrest the person. Even if that computer entry later turned out to be wrong and the warrant was quashed well before the arrest was made, the arrest is still valid because the police were acting on good faith reliance on the computer records. The computer records, which includes LEADS and BMV records, tells police the person’s record, whether the driver’s license is valid, active warrants, active civil protection orders, and violent tendency warnings. (more…)
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